Friday 12th of May 2023, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) together with partners celebrated the International Nurses Day together with International Day of the Midwife which is normally marked globally every year on the 5th of May.
The event kicked off with a floating parade that was led by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Band, where nurses from the National Referral Hospital, Honiara City Council and Guadalcanal province including nurses from other provinces currently in town and partner NGOs (Non- Government Organizations) paraded the main highway from Lawson-Tama to Town-ground.
There, the National Anthem was sang, speeches delivered, dance and song items performed and stalls set up, displaying various work of the nurses as part of the celebration marking the International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife.
In her brief remarks to welcome the guests and those at the event, Health Permanent Secretary Mrs Pauline McNeil explained that this year’s celebration of these two important global events in Solomon Islands is designed to demonstrate commitment of nurses to health service delivery, promote their scope of work and responsibilities but more importantly to forge unity and renew trust between nurses and the community and provide opportunity for nurses to network amongst themselves, the stakeholders and the people.
Mr Michael Larui, Chair of the SI Nursing Council Board in his remarks at the event explained that the theme Our Nurses. Our Future is to shine the light on nurses and a brighter future, moving nurses from invisible to invaluable in the eyes of policy makers, the public and all those who make decisions affecting the delivery and financing of health care. “Together our future depends on every nurses to not only be on the front lines of care, but also at the front line of change. May God Bless the nursing professions”.
Dr Sobel Howard, WHO country representative in Solomon Islands who also gave brief remarks stated that nurses and midwives encompass almost one-third of the global public health workforce and therefore we must acknowledge the incredible contribution you provide to health services at various levels. “In my 25 years of development work in Asia -Pacific, Africa and the Americas, I repeatedly witnessed dedicated, brave and caring nurses and midwives who selflessly provide care to remote and difficulty places. You are the glue that holds our health service together in your day to day professionalism and hard work in hospitals, clinics and health centres and practices around the country”. Dr Howard assured of continued support by WHO to the nursing profession in Solomon Islands.
Delivering the keynote address at the event was the Guest of Honour, the Hon. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare who thanked the nurses for their tremendous contributions towards health care services across the country and efforts against COVID-19 in the past two years.
He highlighted that it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure Solomon Islands recruit, train and retain sufficient numbers of registered nurses to meet the needs of our fast-growing population rests with the government.
“That is why the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) in its policy statement pledges its commitment and ambition to develop Solomon Islands into a nation that is economically strong, fair and sustainable whilst socially advancing the livelihood of its people by reflecting on drawbacks from our past and drawing on experience to meet challenges into the future”.
“With this, the DCGA government through the Ministry of Health is currently implementing its flagship policy, the Role Delineation Policy (RDP) to support achieving DCGA vision of empowering Solomon Islanders to attain a meaningful quality of life”.
He explained that the RDP sets out the pathway for health service provision across the country in support of the objectives of the National Health Strategic Plan and our ultimate goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage for our people”.
Prime Minister, Sogavare further stated that, the Ministry of Health is currently reviewing the Nursing Council Act. “This review is to ensure that professional cadres such as nursing and their competencies and practice are improved and enhanced to further strengthened and improve their capacity and capabilities health care service provision to the country. “Consultations on the Health Services Act review has also started last year and I encourage all of you Nurses and other health professionals to own and participate in the process. In all these developments, nurses play a central role in the implementation phases”.
With regards to the National Health Strategic Plan 2022 – 2031 launched last year, the Prime Minister highlighted that the plan outlines the detail strategies and activities that the government hope would achieve, expected outcomes of the Objective 3 of the National Development Strategy 2022 – 2031, that is all Solomon Islanders to have access to quality health and education. The launch of the Strategic Plan has also triggered the formulation of the Nursing Strategic Directions 2023 to 2027. Key areas of focus of the Nursing Strategic Direction include the Nursing Workforce Management, Nursing Education and research, Nursing Leadership and Nursing Practice and Service Delivery.