Three COVID-19 asymptomatic patients are the first occupants of the newly reconstructed Multi-Purpose Hall, now the country’s COVID-19 Central Field Hospital.
On Sunday evening, 3rd of January, health workers under strict Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) and Personal Protective Equipment measures safely moved one of the three from the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and the other two from the Acer Accommodation quarantine station to the field hospital. The two from the quarantine station were also at the NRH Isolation ward previously.
Speaking from within the field hospital one of the patient described the field hospital as very impressive and a relief. “Unlike isolation wards, there is a good sense of freedom here because of the open and spacious space as well as the ability to converse with fellow hospital mate but maintaining social and physical distance”.
The patient explained that compared to the isolation wards, the field hospital also offers a secure back yard where they can go outside of the building to get some fresh air and sunlight. “It is a relief to move out of the NRH Isolation ward which was purposely designed for symptomatic COVID-19 with minimum movement. The fact that we are not physically sick, the field Hospital was a perfect place for us to be accommodated and be monitored as we do not need active medical intervention”.
The patient also expressed high regard and respect for the professionalism of the health workers manning both the National Referral Hospital’s Isolation Ward and the field hospital. “There has been a lot of criticisms and also reports of stigmatization against frontline health workers but we have witnessed the protective suits they wear and the strict protocols adhered to, ensuring that they discharge their duties safely with very minimal risk of contracting the virus”.
“Big thank you to the government and all stakeholders for this COVID-19 central field hospital”, stated the patient.
The central field hospital was officially opened by the Prime Minister Honourable Manasseh Sogavare in November 2020 and is fully funded by the Solomon Islands Government. The reconstruction of the Multi-Purpose Hall to the COVID-19 Central Field Hospital was made possible through the permission granted by the Honiara City Council for the Ministry of Health to proceed with the reconstruction project.
The COVID-19 Central Field Hospital is part of the overall COVID-19 preparedness of the country to accommodate any possible surge in the number of COVID-19 positive cases especially those asymptomatic, mild and moderate, cases.
The hospital’s bed capacity is 56, of which 48 are for mild and 8 for moderate cases and are equally divided for male and female patients. There is also a recreation room, laundry, small kitchenette with TV for the patients.
Essential functions that are conducted in the hospital includes, monitoring of vital signs, measuring of oxygen levels, provision of symptoms relieving aids, detection of deteriorating patients and referrals to high level health facilities, provide access to mental health and psychological support care and awareness around coping strategies, protection from stigma, discrimination and violence.