In its effort to continue strengthening coordination of support received from development partners, the Ministry has resumed the Development Partner Coordination Meeting after the last one held in October 2019 when COVID-19 global outbreak shifted focus to the health pandemic preparedness and response activities.
The resumption of the meeting on Thursday this week saw Development Partner Heads and Representatives in the health sector, together with the Ministry of Health’s Senior Executive Management, Heads of Department (HODs), and Program Managers gather for a renewed commitment to strengthening development partner coordination in the health sector.
At the meeting, the status of donor and development partner funding support to the Ministry was presented, followed by discussions on how to improve the financing mechanism, distribution, and tracking systems took place. The meeting also included a session on identifying areas within the National Health Strategic Plan 2022 -2031 where partners can support and how best to address gaps and under-resource strategies in the NHSP 2022 – 2031 including ways forward.
Mrs. Pauline McNeil Health Permanent Secretary Chaired the meeting with Dr. Sobel Howard, WHO Country Representative to the Solomon Islands as co-chair.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. McNeil explained that the resumption of this development partner coordination meeting is necessary to again strengthen the coordination of support received from donor and development partners, as there has also been an increase in the number of partners supporting the Ministry over the past two years.
“Therefore resumption of this coordination meeting will enable all of us to ensure that support received from development partners in the health sector are well coordinated for efficient and effective allocation and use of resources, preventing duplication and overlapping of support by two or more partners in a particular health space”,
She explained that past two years have not been easy with the COVID-19 global pandemic. “Core business was disrupted so was our partner coordination meeting. However, despite this challenge, work on policies and strategic plans had been progressing behind the scenes. These include the Disability Development Policy 2022 – 2031, the formulation and finalization of the Mental Health Policy 2022 and the National Health Strategic Plan (NHSP) 2022 -2031 that was launched late last year”, outlined Mrs. McNeil.
The implementation of these especially the NHSP 2022 -2031, will require donor and development partner support to fulfil and achieve its objectives. Thus in this first coordination meeting it is important to map out and position how support can be properly coordinated toward the implementation of the NHSP as per the three priority areas, good governance, efficient management of resources and quality health care.
Dr Zelalem Taffesse, Chief of UNICEF Solomon Islands Office said that the meeting sets a good basis in ensuring the National Health Strategic Plan is properly implemented along the priorities identified. “UNICEF remains committed to supporting the MHMS and the Solomon Islands Government to enhance transparency around the annual operation planning and execution process as well as expanding quality health, immunization, nutrition Social Welfare and WASH service provision across the Country.
The Australian High Commission’s First Secretary of Health Dr Alex Stephens said that “as the Solomon Islands largest health sector partner, Australia is pleased to participate in the Ministry of Health and Medical Service’s first partner coordination meeting for the new National Health Strategic Plan 2022-31.”
“The Solomon Islands successful COVID-19 response showed that good health outcomes can be achieved when we all work together. Australia commits to working closely in partnership with the Solomon Islands and in coordination with other health partners to improve health services for all”.