In a brief handing-over ceremony yesterday afternoon, Health Minister, Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana receives the first ever High Dependency Unit (HDU) in any hospital from the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Defence Hon. Richard Marles, fully funded by the Australian Government.
In handing over the High Dependency Unit, Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Defence Hon. Richard Marles said it is an honour to handover the NRH’s improved acute care capability through a High Dependency Unit, which the Australian Government is supporting.
“This 14-bed high care dependency unit is part of Australia’s significant commitment to the health system of Solomon Islands every year. And the high dependency unit will greatly increase the capability of this hospital to deal with the patients who are in most acute need,” said Deputy Prime Minister Marles.
He also congratulated the seven clinicians in the Paediatric and Maternity teams who have received Australian Award fellowship.
He said this trip has been a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm just how important, Australia regards its relationship with SI.
“A country is unable to enjoy its full potential without a healthy population, which is why we are so focused in the assistance that we provide to the countries of the Pacific, and to Solomon Islands, on the question of health and on the health system”, said DPM Marles.
In receiving the High Dependency Unit, Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana welcome the Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, the Australian High Commissioner HE. Rod Hilton and his Deputy High Commissioner and Australian High Commission Officials.
Minister Dr Togamana sincerely thanked the Australian Government and its people for investing substantively on the health sector and particularly in the health infrastructure and equipment space including the establishment of the High Dependency Unit.
“This highly specialized infrastructure is the first of its kind in any hospital, and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is so grateful for this support. This assistance has indeed further strengthened our mutual cooperation, understanding and partnership in Health development for the country”, said Dr Togamana.
Dr Togamana highlighted during the COVID-19 response efforts, many things at the NRH including the transformation of the Orthopaedic Ward to provide intensive care for severe cases of COVID-19. He added it was indeed a challenge having to move patients and equipment around, let alone having the right set skilled staff to be in place to care and manage these patients.
“The 14-bed ward is configured as a high-dependency care unit and this services level facility is purposely to care for our severe and very sick patients that require hourly monitoring, require intensive observation, treatment, strict fluid resuscitation and management and timely medication.
“Additional specialist nurses and doctors who have been trained by the DFAT Nurse Consultant in a high dependency care setting will be positioned at the HDU to manage our very sick patients once operational. It is 24-hour care by our nurses and doctors and it will involve strict monitoring that uses modern patient care equipment”, said Dr Togamana.
He added the creation of the High Dependency Unit goes beyond the establishment of the infrastructure and the positioning of the specialised equipment but creates a clinical care environment through building an international class High Dependency Unit.
“That provides special training and capacity enhancement of our local doctors and nurses to manage and run with this facility. Sets high standards for improvement of hospital systems, processes and capacity development of our NRH health workers and most importantly, this facility will now pave the way for the improvement of other wards in the hospital by setting new standards, norms and positive culture of practice to follow and learn from”, said Dr Togamana.
He further adds with COVID-19 pandemic, while it affected the health system for over two years, it also came with many positive aspect opportunities. This the Minister thank AUSMAT team that was deployed early last year to support with the hospital’s COVID-19 response, who recommended the need for the setup of HDU of 14 beds capacity.
“Australia not only supported health during the pandemic and post pandemic but their ongoing investments and strong partnership with the MHMS is very much visible with the ultimate common goal to improve health outcomes”, said Dr Togamana.