In a brief handing-over ceremony this afternoon, Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana received a state of the art microbiology diagnostic machine from Dr Alex Stephens, First Secretary for Health, Australia High Commission in Honiara on behalf of the “Reach 4 Your Future Foundation” an Australian Charity Group based in Melbourne.
In handing over the machine Dr Stephens said that “the blood culture machine, worth SBD360,000 is the mainstay of any clinical microbiology lab and will help the NRH to diagnose and treat bloodstream infections quickly”.
He highlighted that the “Reach 4 Your Future Foundation’s mission is to enable young people to participate in programs that deliver solutions for their communities.”
“In this case, the Foundation was able to donate this equipment to the NRH through an existing collaborative partnership with the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Dr Stephens acknowledged the Foundation and its supporters which overcame months of delays due to COVID-19 to deliver this equipment.
He explained that complementing this donation, Australia through its Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is supporting the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in improving laboratory diagnostics systems through a range of activities.
Dr Stephens outlined Australia’s support including the provision of a GeneXpert PCR machine for the COVID-19 outbreak and the recent arrival in Honiara of three prefabricated molecular diagnostic laboratories that will be installed at Taro, Munda and Lata soon at a total cost of SBD7.2 million.
“We are also supporting the extension of the NRH molecular laboratory, which is nearing completion, facilitated capacity building of local laboratory technicians, and provided SBD500,000 of budget support this year for procurement of equipment for the National Public Health Laboratory.”
In receiving the machine, Dr Togamana thanked Dr Stephens for accepting the invitation to deliver the machine to the NRH on behalf of the “Reach for your Future Foundation”.
“On behalf of the government and people of Solomon Islands I wish to sincerely thank you and the “Reach for your Future Foundation” for mobilizing resources in facilitating this generous expensive and highly scientific equipment that will lead to better health outcomes for our people and country.
Minister Dr Togamana added “One of the key result area of the Ministry’s policy is to improve quality service to Solomon Islanders and in doing so, correct detection of organisms leads to correct treatment for patients. This machine offers us that quality testing and moreover, we are proud to be the second country in the region to have a Vitek machine apart from Fiji.
“As a global concern, the machines will also assist in our effort to address antimicrobial stewardship in monitoring and controlling Antimicrobial Resistance in the country. Thank you and we will look after it well”, said Dr Togamana.
The Health Minister also thanked Australia for the support rendered to the NRH laboratories and ongoing support towards the health sector stating that the Ministry is looking forward to continued cooperation and collaboration in its next 10 years strategic plan that will be launched soon.