The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the Non-Government Organization (NGO) partners kicked off a three days’ workshop, Wednesday this week on the Minimum Initial Services Package (MISP) for Sexual-Reproductive Health and MISP Readiness Assessment (MRA) in Solomon Islands supported by the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance- USAID.
The workshop aimed to assess readiness of the Minimal Initial Services Package (MISP) for Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) in times of emergency.
Dr Nemia Bainivalu, Deputy Secretary Health Improvement, in his remarks explained that this is well in line with the National Health Strategic Plan, and, it is encouraging to note that the implementation of the NHSP has already started.
Dr Bainivalu highlighted that timely provision of SRH services can avoid preventable deaths, illness and disability; much of which are related to pregnancy complications, gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy, STI/HIV, and other related conditions. “As such, the Readiness Assessment presents an evidence-based approach to assess our readiness and capacity to rapidly respond with SRH interventions, in the event of an emergency crisis. The assessment will also enable us to identify gaps in services delivery, prioritizing key areas for intervention, and on the basis of this, develop action plans to strengthen the delivery of SRH services, not only during emergencies, but at all times.
He said that natural disasters have become increasingly destructive in our country and the rest of the world. By world ranking, Solomon Islands is one of the countries with the highest natural disaster risk, and has similar ratings with Vanuatu, PNG and Fiji.
He added the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in unprecedented adverse social and economic impacts and demonstrated the compounding impacts of adding another shock on top of the multiple challenges already faced. “This has the potential to create devastating health, social, economic and environmental crises, and destroy decades of investment”.
“Therefore we as a nation need to be prepared at all times before, during and after disasters strike”, said Dr Bainivalu.
With the Sexual Reproductive Health, Dr Bainivalu said he is pleased to note that UNFPA with key national sectors will discuss the need to position Sexual and Reproductive Health in the agenda of national responses in times of emergency. “This area is often forgotten when disaster strikes. We also need to give priority to the care of pregnant women, their need for safe childbirth and immediate care of newborns, prevention from STI & HIV, prevention from unplanned pregnancy, and protection from gender-based violence emergency crisis”.
“I believe the findings of the assessment will form a strong foundation for developing action plans to build stronger and resilient SRH services and programs, which respond to current needs, and better prepare for possible future emergencies and crisis events. By taking a well-designed and well targeted assessment approach, we can have a more efficient, effective and dignified solution to humanitarian needs, which better protects development gains.
“I am encouraged by the collaboration of the MHMS with NDMO in this workshop, also the engagement of other key players – particularly partner agencies, the UN agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders – working together to devise ways for better coordination, planning and resource sharing in times of emergency; and beyond, during the recovery phase”, Dr Bainivalu said.
He thanked UNFPA and its team for leading the workshop and for the financial support from both UNFPA and USAID, and all facilitators and participants for their commitment towards this undertaking.
UNFPA Program Specialist Mrs. Alicia Kenilorea said the UNFPA is pleased to support the three-day workshop under the leadership of the Ministry of Health to jointly examine how prepared and equipped we are to support and protect women, girls, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations sexual and reproductive health rights during emergencies and recovery phase. Jonathan Tafiariki, Director National Disaster Management Office also echoed similar sentiments.
Meanwhile, USAID Country Coordinator William Pryor said the Government of US through the USAID is pleased to support the workshop and wished all the participants fruitful discussions.