Health Minister Hon. Dr. Culwick Togamana and his officials met with the new Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, His Excellency, Mr. Rod Hilton in a courtesy meeting, on Friday, 10 February.
At the meeting, Dr. Togamana acknowledged the Australian Government’s Health Sector Support Program (HSSP3) through which Australia has provided over AUD 90 million since 2016 for direct budget support and technical assistance to the Ministry.
“Your Excellency we are looking forward to the completion of the next Health Sector Support Program (HSSP4) and the Ministry hopes to be fully engaged in the development of HSSP4”, said Dr Togamana.
He thanked Australia for the substantial support towards the country’s COVID-19 preparedness and response including COVID-19 vaccines and supplies, financial assistance to support operations and logistics, infrastructure and technical support including the deployment of the Emergency Medical Team (AUSMAT) to the country in January to February 2022.
“Capitalizing on the pandemic preparedness and response, I wish to also acknowledge the following DFAT-funded infrastructure projects that are either completed or progressing towards completion. Solar power stage 1 for Nila health staff houses, Mortuary Fridges at NRH, Gizo, Kilufi and Helena Goldie Hospitals, Bio molecular laboratory refurbishment at NRH and Helena Goldie with Lata pending to kick off this year and the NRH High Dependency Unit including the NRH Flood mitigation assessment and costing report”,
Dr Togamana also thanked Australia for the Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre with the ground-breaking ceremony held last month to commence construction work. Dr Togamana said the relocation of NRH to Gilbert Camp is now the top strategic priority of the Ministry.
Responding to the Minister, Mr. Hilton thanked the Minister for acknowledging Australia’s support whilst reiterating Australia’s commitment and dedication towards the cooperation and friendship between Australia and Solomon Islands and in the health sector.
The duo also discussed the 10 years National Health Strategic Plan 2022 to 2031. Mr. Hilton confirmed that the design of Australia’s future health sector support in the Solomon Islands will be done in close consultation with the Ministry to align with the key priorities of the strategic plan.