Health Minister Hon. Dr. Culwick Togamana outlined key components and features of the new National Health Strategic Plan 2022 2031 in his keynote address to launch the plan on Tuesday this week.
Dr. Togamana highlighted that the plan is a 10 years plan, because we can no longer ignore our aging and dilapidated health infrastructure in particular the buildings, water, sanitation, and equipment.
“Repairing or building health infrastructure cannot happen overnight and requires planning and investments over multiple years. Similarly, the need to ensure that we have the right number and mix of doctors and nurses with the right skills, working in the right places to serve our growing population in partnership with academia and others for purposes of training and academic qualification. All these require time hence the 10-year plan”, explained Dr. Togamana.
Dr Togamana said secondly is the feature of having annex with a 10 year infrastructure roadmap that lays the foundation for ensuing that right infrastructure are placed at the right place and be able to deliver the right services to the communities within its catchment area.
“The roadmap is a guide that sets priorities around our other guiding policy – the Role Delineation Policy endorsed in 2018 and now integrated within the new strategic plan. Previously focus has been on software components such as trainings, workshops, development of Standard Operating Procedures etc. While not underestimating the importance of these components, we recognize the need to catch up and invest also on the hardware component of health service delivery such as rural health clinics, Area Health Centres, provincial hospitals, medical equipment, including beds, mattresses and all other assets”, highlighted Dr. Togamana.
He said that this is important to make it easier for our people to access health services and treatment closer to where they live instead of having to travel to provincial hospitals or the NRH in Honiara.
“Thirdly, the new strategic plan has a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework that includes our current baselines indicators and the targets that we hope to achieve by specific points of time in the implementation of the plan”, said Dr Togamana,
He explained that these targets will ensure that the Ministry including development partners are held accountable for delivering these health outcomes, with each program reporting its performance annually against relevant targets. “ Irrespective of whether you are a senior executive, department heads, program managers or a nurse working in a rural health clinic, each of us will know and understand our contributions to preventing disease, restoring and promoting health, and well -being of our communities and people.
The final feature highlighted by the Minister is increasing awareness of the plan to all within and outside of the Ministry. “We have noted lack of awareness of the previous plan, its goals and objectives and so forth hence in the new plan; we have worked hard to make the plan visually easy to understand by everyone with objectives and strategies on one page to be pinned up on every health facility”,
“ We also have produced and printed advoacay materials to support awareness and promotion of the plan which includes, pull up banners, posters, stickers, fans and baskets with all the goals, vision statements, objectives and strategies outlined on the materials”, highlighted Dr Togamana.
He added that the Ministry will shortly be undertaking roadshows in each of the provinces to ensure provincial health staff, provincial governments, faith based organizations and communities have a good awareness of the new plan and know both how they can contribute to its success and to hold the Ministry accountable as necessary.