OPPOSITION LEADER Hon Matthew Wale says the government must procure more Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits.
Hon Wale in a statement today said 1,000 kits to each province as announced by the Health Minister yesterday is not enough given the fact that we are in the dark about the real extent of infections throughout the country.
“Government must not rely on donors to purchase these kits for them. They should prioritize government funds to purchase these kits,” he said.
The Opposition Leader also thanked the Australian Government for the AUSMAT team deployed to the country recently.
He said the national government’s request for additional capacity in epidemiology is essential.
However, he said it is surprising that the Government has waited until now to make such request.
“Epidemiology is the basis of any effective response and the government should have requested this capacity year and a half ago to help preparedness plans. No wonder there was no proper plan for community transmission,” Hon Wale said.
The Opposition Leader adds that it was also sad to note that at least one death last night went to NRH, received no attention but told to return home and later died.
“Again it betrays NRH’s lack of capacity. The government must adequately resource the healthcare sector urgently especially NRH, Kiluufi, Gizo, Buala and all other health facilities in our provinces,” he said.
Hon Wale also questioned why the government are still holding back more than $100m for the Pacific Games when the health sector is in dire need.
“Why is the government operating on hope that donors will fund our covid response efforts? Government’s own resources cannot be tied up in PG 2023 when covid threatens lives across the country,” he said.
He said the government’s response plan is a mess, and there must be accountability for this gross negligence.
Meanwhile, Hon Wale questioned why it is taking too long for the testing capacity in Malaita to be in operational.
He said the testing machine was set up 18months ago and was left idle until just recently.
“Why is Malaita testing capacity so slow to be operational? Is this more of the same persecution of Malaita? If it is, it must stop. Given Malaita population and mobility risk of high infection rates and it needs this testing capacity to be operational urgently,” he said.
Hon Wale said it seems Malaita PDOC is ineffective.
“I also call on the Malaita premier to make changes necessary to make PDOC more effective,” he said.