8th November 2022 – Following almost two years of review, consultations, and compilation, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has finally launched the country’s National Health Strategic Plan 2022 to 2031 yesterday In Honiara with the theme “A Healthy Future for All Solomon Islanders”, after endorsement by the cabinet last month.
In her welcome remarks, Health Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil highlighted that the formulation and development of the strategic plan was conducted when the Ministry was at the forefront of combating the COVID-19 pandemic in which she described as truly challenging.
“Despite these challenges one thing was certain, the Ministry remained determined and committed to seeing the plan come to its completion. As such I take this opportunity to thank everyone who have contributed to the plan and for your tireless efforts which is greatly appreciated”, said Mrs. McNeil.
She also thanked donors and partners, churches and communities including the private sector, civil society groups, etc. for ongoing steadfast support towards the health sector. “We greatly appreciate your support that has enabled us to reach where we are today and for your prayers that have uplifted us and gave us hope and courage through challenging times”, stated Mrs. McNeil.
Speaking on behalf of WHO and health development partners present at the event, Dr. Howard Sobel, WHO Country Representative in the Solomon Islands congratulated the government and the Ministry of Health for the achievement, referring to it as another milestone in the health sector.
He explained that deliberate policy decisions are needed to bring about health systems that are geared toward greater fairness and efficiency. “These deliberate policy decisions are reflected strongly in the National Health Strategic Plan 2022 -2031 and thus WHO and partners, we are very pleased and excited with the plan and most importantly stand ready to provide support”, stated Dr. Sobel.
The WHO representative also encouraged the government for continued increased budget allocation to the health sector and in turn, the health sector to address efficiency gains from existing resources to support equitable access to quality care and improve the financial protection of the people of Solomon Islands.
“All gathered here today have no choice but to re-commit to our mandate, build synergies, and partnerships and mobilize resources to deliver affordable essential, quality health. We are doing so on behalf of Solomon Islanders who have put their trust and pinned their hopes on us policymakers, technocrats, and health care workers”,
Also congratulating the government and the Ministry of Health and reassuring support to the new NHSP 2022 -2031 was the Chief of UNICEF Solomon Islands Office Dr Zelalem Taffesse and Ms. Sally-Anne Vincent, Acting Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.
In his keynote address Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana explained that the Plan sets the scene for what health services to be delivered and to whom over the next decade to achieve the vision of a healthy future for all Solomon Islanders irrespective of where you live in our beautiful country.
“The plan also identifies WHAT services will be available and WHERE, including HOW the Ministry will be reformed to deliver the commitment in the plan to prevent disease, restore and promote health and well-being to the communities and peoples of our country”, highlighted Dr. Togamana.
The health minister also dwelled on the processes involved in the development of the plan and the key components of the plan in his keynote address and concluded with a call for solidarity and unity with strengthened partnerships and cooperation in the implementation of the plan.
“ The Ministry places a crucial role in implementing the plan but cannot do it alone without strong partnerships with multilateral and bi -lateral development partners, technical agencies, provincial councils, other partners like the private sector, churches and communities which the ministry strives to serve”,
“Therefore my ministry looks forward in working in close collaboration with everyone to achieve the vision healthy future for all Solomon Islanders by the end of this decade. Sincerest congratulations again to all of us and the country as a whole”, concluded Dr Togamana.