The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has last week trained and certified another 33 public servants, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Communication and Aviation, Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Mines and Energy and Auditor General Office, for contact tracing.
This is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to prepare, as much as possible, adequate number of COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of any possible COVID-19 community transmission.
Contact tracing is an important COVID-19 response activity in the event of a reported COVID-19 suspect and community transmission situation to determine location and extend of spread of the virus for necessary and appropriate actions to slow down and stop transmission.
Nevertheless, this is a human resources intensive activity, which the Ministry of Health simply does not have the man-power to do alone. In Fiji like many countries around the world for instance, thousands of government workers, both health and non- health workers were trained and engaged for contact tracing with the COVID-19 community transmission situation.
Solomon Islands is doing the same, pulling together personals from non-health sectors to be trained on contact tracing so that when the need for surge capacity arises, we are ready to respond.
Dr Nemia Bainivalu, Incident Controller of the National Health Emergency Operations Centre (NHEOC) in his remarks at the training expressed sincere thanks to the various Ministries whom have identified and provided their personals to be part of the contact tracing training.
“There are elements of the COVID-19 preparedness and response that health requires additional manpower and contact tracing is one of them. Therefore, sincere thank you to you all for making yourselves available for the training but more importantly to be engaged when the need for extensive contact tracing arises”, said Dr Bainivalu.
Training on wearing and removal of personal protective equipment that will be used during contact tracing
Dr Bainivalu also added that Solomon Islands has always been a step ahead of the virus reflected in the successfully detection, isolation and management of all 20 COVID-19 positive cases registered in country and for the past 5 months, maintained a COVID-19 free status.
“However we must not let our guards down. It is critical that we continue to prepare and respond to the current global health pandemic. Community transmission as we have seen in other countries is not a joke, people mourn over loss of lives, children left without parents and vice versa. Family members could only say their final goodbyes over the phone. This is the tragedy that this pandemic has caused, therefore we have to continue preparing for the worst case scenario, a community transmission”, said Dr Bainivalu.
The Incident Controller highlighted that while the Ministry of Health is continuing its preparations it is important that the public also support current efforts against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated.
Getting, vaccinated will to great effect reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our people’s health and lives in the event of a community transmission, than if we are not vaccinated. “This is because vaccination helps to significantly reduce chances to get very sick, admitted at a hospital and die from COVID-19, these are the very situations that health is working hard to prevent. That is why it is important that we get vaccinated to prevent ourselves from getting severe disease. ”, said Bainivalu.
This week another two more of these trainings will be held for other selected workers from remaining government ministries and state owned enterprises.