Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana, Charles Fox Meke, President of the Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood (SIPPA) and Mr. Alvaro Bermejo, the Director General of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) formalized a stronger partnership to improve and address Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Solomon Islands with the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) over the weekend.
The MHMS and SIPPA have a mutual commitment to the realization of goals emanating from International Conference on Population and Development and the Fourth World Conference of Women.
This Joint Commitment include undertaking key activities resulting from the conference’s program of action in country and contributes to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals specifically #3, good health and wellbeing and goal #5 gender equality.
This new MOU acknowledges these goals and formalizes the partnership between SIPPA and the Ministry of Health to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights of all Solomon Islanders collaborating to promote efficiency and effectiveness in programmes and optimization of limited resources.
In his remarks at the MOU signing over the weekend, the Health Minister praised IPPF & SIPPA for their exceptional work in supporting the Ministry of Health in the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Space.
“SIPPA remains a crucial partner of the health Ministry in the delivery of SRHS services including education and awareness as well as in the Gender Based Violence space. Last year alone over 77,000 clients in urban and rural areas reached. Through your Community Based Distributor Network, SIPPA rolled these important SRHS to extremely rural and remote islands and communities and partnership with Honiara City Council that enabled weekly integrated mobile clinics in the capital and the outskirts of the city”, highlighted Dr Togamana.
He explained that the impressive reach by SIPPA itself is making significant contributions to health’s ongoing efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage, where people regardless of where they are can easily access health services without any financial hardships.
“ Your Annual Operational Plans, Policies that are well aligned to that of the Ministry, sharing of resources, workforce, services and finances including well qualified staff of clinicians and workers are also contributing the Ministry’s National Health Strategic Plan 2021 – 2031 strategic objectives of: Improving governance in the Health Sector, systems and resources meet our needs and are responsibly managed and equitable access to fully implement quality health care services”, said Dr Togamana.
He further added that the HIV/STI/Hepatitis national program of the MHMS is proud to work closely SIPPA. “We have secured funds through WHO under Global Fund to implement a targeted key population intervention project which SIPPA is the implementing partner. SIPPA has been instrumental and a key partner in ensuring that HIV incidence is low in the country through its resourceful activities. Other NGOs have realigned their priorities but SIPPA stands tall with the HIV/STI/Hepatitis national program in our fight against HIV, STI, Hepatitis in the country”.
He thanked IPPF and SIPPA for their wonderful work in country while stating that the new MOU will pave way for better and stronger partnership to improve Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Solomon Islands.
Alvaro Bermejo the IPPF Director General and his team were in country last week holding several meetings and engagements with donors and partners including sites visits to Guadalcanal and Malaita province.
In his remarks Mr Bermejo praised the partnership between MHMS and SIPPA describing it as an important ingredients towards the many achievements and successes in the SRHRS. “During our field trips it was difficult to differentiate between SIPPA and MHMS workers as they all integrated very well and worked so closely and well together as a team”, said Mr. Bermejo.
“During our field trips we have also noted the many difficulties and challenges with providing such services in rural and remote areas and as such a big salute to our joint efforts together in the field”, highlighted Mr. Bermejo.
He said that IPPF through SIPPA is pleased that the MOU is signed and marks a renewed commitment and strengthened partnership between MHMS and SIPPA to deliver improved SRHS to the people.