The refurbished National Referral Hospital laboratory was officially handed over in a ceremony attended by the Minister of Health Dr Culwick Togamana and Australia’s High Commissioner Rod Hilton on 5 April. The laboratory has key role in providing diagnostic tests to assist doctors identify and treat diseases at the National Referral Hospital.
The refurbishment means the staff have an improved work environment to better deliver the laboratory services, improving health outcomes for patients at the National Referral Hospital. The laboratory is one of four funded by Australia across the country under the Solomon Islands – Australia health partnership. Australia’s support also includes new equipment and training for the laboratory technicians.
At the hand over, Australia’s High Commissioner Rod Hilton acknowledged the Ministry of Health and Medical Services efforts to deliver the project and said “This laboratory is part of a broader support package Australia promised and is delivering to the National Referral Hospital”.
“Australia has provided new diagnostic equipment, deployed volunteer medical staff to support local health workers, is upgrading the Acute Care Ward infrastructure, and is providing urgent medical supply procurement support to reduce current stockouts”, said Mr Hilton.
Commenting on the local jobs generated by the project, High Commissioner Hilton said ‘The laboratory not only improves the health infrastructure of Solomon Islands, but it also supported local construction jobs that contribute to the country’s economic growth. This SBD950,000 laboratory project was funded by Australia and delivered by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services using a local contractor.”
Health Minister Dr. Togamana expressed sincere thanks and appreciation to the government of Australia describing the biomolecular laboratory as crucial for the prevention and curative aspect of health services. “It will aid and guide doctors in patient care management as well as public health epidemiological in disease surveillance, preparedness and response. We value the service of the molecular lab facility and the staff during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and community transmission”.
He also acknowledged the ongoing partnership with the Australian Volunteer Doctors and Nurses stating that they contributed significantly to the level of patient care at the hospital as well as transfer of important knowledge and skills to local clinicians. “ Your support and time at NRH will truly have long lasting impact towards our efforts to achieve quality health care at the hospital today and into the future”, said Dr Togamana.
The Health Minister also acknowledged Australia’s support with airlift of medical supplies, Acute Ward Infrastructure, morgue and cool room.
After the laboratory handover event, Minister Togamana and High Commissioner Hilton participated in a guided tour of the hospital by CEO Dr George Malefoasi to see the broad range of support provided under the Solomon Islands – Australia health partnership.
A highlight of the tour included meeting Australia’s deployed doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals and their local counterparts, who are working hand-in-hand across the paediatric ward, the emergency department, the medical ward, and assisting patients with non-communicable diseases, including diabetes.
Australia working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to support the delivery of health outcomes to improve health and wellbeing of all Solomon Islanders.