As of Tuesday this week, around 4000 people in Avuavu area in Guadalcanal province and about 7000 more people in surrounding wards and communities will greatly benefit from an improved and expanded range of health services from the newly opened Area Health Centre (AHC).
These services include; General clinical services (outpatient and inpatient) and essential trauma care, Reproductive and child health (RMNCAH) services, Communicable and Non-Communicable diseases services, Visiting dental and ophthalmology clinics, Community / population based health services (including satellite clinics), Support services – Laboratory, IPC, pharmacy, information management, referrals and disaster response coordination.
Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) together with World Health Organization (WHO), Guadalcanal provincial government and communities at Avuavu, officially opened the Area Health Centre with great excitement. Children and their parents, youths and community elders and leaders celebrated their new health facility with speeches filed with thanks, dances and songs.
The Avuavu New Health Facility is a SBD$16 million dollars’ project funded by the Korean Government (KOICA) through the World Health Organization. Project implementation was carried out by WHO, Ministry of Health and Guadalcanal Provincial Health with endorsements from Guadalcanal provincial government and East Guadalcanal Constituency Office.
In his remarks at the opening of the health facility, Dr Joel Denty, Guadalcanal Provincial Health Director on behalf of MHMS thanked the Government of Korea for the financial support rendered to the project and WHO for the partnership in implementation but also ensuring that the facility meets technical requirements of an AHC level facility as stipulated in the Role Delineation Policy of Health.
He explained that the facility, including the recently opened Aola Health Centre, are both the results from concerning reports that showed Higher Maternity Death Rates in the Guadalcanal Province remote areas. “Therefore, while these health centers are part and parcel of the overall efforts of health to improve health services and facilities across the country, this particular health situation has been the driving force to push us to ensure that we get it done as soon as possible so that these health issues can be addressed more effectively and efficiently”, said Dr Denty.
“Now when you visit this health facility you will know that your child will be better taken care of with well-equipped facilities provided in this area health center,” Dr. Denty told Avuavu community members.
Dr Denty further elaborated on the project stating that it is part of the commitment of MHMS towards the Role Delineation Policy for Solomon Islands. The policy sets out the path for health services provision across the country in support of the objectives of the National Health Strategic Plan and our ultimate goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage for our people.
Universal Coverage is aimed at ensuring that all people have access to needed promotive, preventive and rehabilitative health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardship when accessing these services.
Dr Denty, encouraged the community members in Avuavu and Weather-coast area to take good care, ownership and responsibility of their new health facility by working together to ensure health workers serving in the health facility are well looked after and they health workers too will provide better health services to the communities.
Officer in Charge of WHO Solomon Islands Office, Dr Sonja Tanevska also echoed similar sentiments of thanks to the government of Korea for the funding support towards the project while stating that WHO is very pleased to have worked in partnership with MHMS and Guadalcanal Provincial Health overseeing the entire process of getting the health facility to where it is today.
“Our commitment and support will not end here, WHO will continuously provide technical support where needed and work closely with the provincial ministry of health and Avuavu health care centre team to ensure health service continuity and efforts towards achieving SDG goal number 3; good health and well being”, Said Dr Tanevska.
She concluded by reiterating COVID-19 safe measures and encouraged everyone to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Guest of Honor to the official handover Hon. Francis Sade, Guadalcanal Provincial Premier, also expressed sincere thank you towards the government of Korea for the financial support, WHO for the implementation of the project in partnership with MHMS and Guadalcanal provincial government through its provincial health team.
He also thanked the communities for their wonderful support, “without your support we would not have reached this far with the our Area Health Facility, your commitment and dedication to seeing this project come to its completion is highly admired and appreciated. The challenge now is for us to ensure that the facility remains functional to continue serving the health needs of our people”,
“Guadalcanal provincial government remains committee to our people in Guadalcanal and with health, we will render as much as possible, with the resources we have, relevant support to ensure that the health needs of our people can be met both in sufficient supply and with quality”, said the Hon. Premier.
Chairman of Avuavu Health Development Committee, Mr. Brown Rava said now with the new area health facility, the challenges of access to quality health services will be much easier for the Avuavu Ward and surrounding communities in Weather-coast.
“We will no longer have to travel long distances and hours to seek medical attention. It is here close to our homes and communities. For that we are very grateful to donors and partners including National and Provincial Ministry of Health for this wonderful gift for our people today and our children tomorrow.