Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) together with health stakeholders conducted a two days’ workshop that successfully completes Friday (14 October) to finalize the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) Vital Signs Profile Assessment Validation to assess the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for enhancing national and regional primary health care systems.
The workshop aims to; discuss findings from the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative Vital Signs Profile Assessment, a systematic assessment of the performance of the PHC system, and solicit participants’ expert knowledge and experience. Validate and finalize results for the Vital Signs Profile, including the progression Model assessment, a mixed-methods evaluation of the functional capacities of Solomon Islands’ PHC system. Results cover the financing, capacity, performance, and equity of primary health care and start dialogue on the strengths and opportunities for improving Solomon Islands’ primary health care.
Speaking at the official opening of the workshop, Health Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Pauline McNeil outlined the importance of Primary Health Care to Solomon Islands. She said Solomon Islands has made impressive gains in health outcomes over the past 20 years, and its system has always leveraged Primary Health Care to deliver preventative and curative services to the population distributed across the many islands and remote areas. Health expenditure has increased, signalling the government prioritization in ensuring delivery of health services to Solomon Islanders.
“While the country has seen improvements in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy since 2000, the gap between them – the years when Solomon Islanders are expected to live longer but in poor health – are increasing (7.8 in 2000 to 8.4 in 2019). Primary Health Care can play a crucial role in decreasing this gap and efficiently leveraging available resources by providing accessible and affordable preventative and curative health services for most population health needs. Primary health care is relevant for us in Solomon Islands as the foundation of universal health coverage”, said Mrs. McNeil.
She adds to enable high-quality Primary Health Care in Solomon Islands, it is important to have the data and insight into into what’s working, what’s not, and how to drive needed improvement.
“The Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the World Bank have been working together to understand and improve the primary health care (PHC) system in Solomon Islands through the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) work, developing a baseline assessment of how the Primary Health Care system in each country is structured and functioning, and enabling the identification of strengths, successes, and opportunities for improvement using a globally comparable framework. This work is undertaken as part of a broader regional initiative with Fiji, Kiribati, and the Republic of Marshall Islands”, said Mrs. McNeil.
She highlighted the ministry has met countless individuals and obtained numerous sources of information available to ensure that the work is relevant and reflects the Solomon Islands context. The ministry is very grateful for the generous insights of all the key informants who supported the work.
She further highlighted that health partners particularly UN Agencies namely WHO and UNICEF and stakeholders including DFAT and JICA have also been deeply involved, with development partners and non-governmental organizations offering their time and data to help enable the ministry to create a meaningful and comprehensive snapshot of PHC.
“Through this workshop, we hope to refine and validate the findings of the assessment. The results of the Vital Signs Profile will provide a snapshot of PHC in Solomon Islands that can be used to guide and steer improvement efforts on the ground”, said Mrs. McNeil.
Meanwhile, World Bank Resident Representative for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Annette Leith said to enable high-quality Primary Health Care in Solomon Islands, it is important to have the data and insight into what is working, what is not, and how to drive needed improvement. The Bank was happy to support and partner with the MHMS in this important piece of analytical work that will give health policy makers and health providers key insights to help them improve primary healthcare in the country.