UK Emergency Medical Team (EMT) comprising of doctors, nurses, risk communication expert and epidemiologist, are still in the provinces further solidifying provincial capacities and capabilities to effectively manage COVID-19 patients as Honiara starts to experience the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
A statement from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services said the team in the past seven weeks have been busy supporting Malaita Province (Kilu’ufi and Atoifi hospitals) and Western Province (Gizo Hospital) in getting the facilities prepared for COVID-19 subsequent waves.
It said COVID-19 facility assessments have been conducted in the three facilities to assess for weakness and gaps to build on.
“Following assessments training of trainer’s course was set up for the key health workers.
“A multi-disciplinary approach was used in conducting the training as this also improves teamwork in the facilities,” the statement said.
It said the trainings in Kilu’ufi took two weeks which concluded last following week and now the team is currently conducting on job training and mentorships.
Plans are also underway to set up a HDU in Kilu’ufi Hospital as well as training the staff on the equipment use.
A smaller team has also gone back to Atoifi to give follow up support to the facility after TOT last week.
The statement said the Gizo training was conducted in one week as the training sessions were conducted throughout the day, morning and afternoons.
The last training was being held last week Friday.
The trainings being conducted include:
- Respiratory therapy 2 – responding to deteriorating patients and recognising acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute hypoxemic respiratory failure;
- Respiratory therapy 2- initiation, escalation and weaning of oxygen therapy with skills sessions;
- COVID-19 therapeutics and clinical care (case management);
- COVID-19 special situations in pregnancy and children;
- COVID-19 IPC-passing points, donning and doffing and hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene with skills session;
- Triage (sorting of patients based on symptoms);
- Role of physiotherapy in COVID-19;
The statement said the trainings formed the bedrock of COVID-19 management of patients and support safe working environment for staff, patients and visitors.
The team that was in Gizo travelled to Choiseul.
Last week they have also joined the MOH team for an outreach to Sasamunga facility to carry out assessment and mentorship on COVID-19 preparedness for the hospital.
Health Permanent Secretary Mrs Pauline McNeil acknowledged the tremendous support and work carried out by the team to date.
“The Ministry of Health remains grateful towards the team that are still out in the provinces providing critical support to further the capacity of our clinical teams to effectively and efficiently manage and care for COVID-19 patients,” Mrs McNeil said.
“… like first wave of COVID-19 infection, we are most likely to see eventual transmission of the COVID-19 to the provinces and once again increasing case counts, hospitalization and deaths.
“However, unlike the first wave, the support in terms of supplies, equipment and technical support provided to the provinces so far should enable them to tackle the virus more effectively preventing loss of lives.”
The deployment of the UK EMT to Solomon Islands is the outcome of successful discussions between the Ministry of Health and the British High Commissioner to Solomon Islands His Excellency Mr Thomas Coward who swiftly mobilized and got the team to be deployed to Solomon Islands from across the globe in just two weeks.
The deployment of these technical team is part and parcel of the overall undertakings of the Ministry of Health in the past months to enhance provincial capacity and capabilities to effectively respond to COVDID-19.
Many support in terms of supplies, such as PPEs and IPC supplies, medicines, COVID-19 vaccines including logistics, 3 tonne trucks for waste management, land cruisers for transportation of workers and more recently land cruiser ambulances to shuttle the sick to hospitals and clinics have been deployed to the provinces as part of this effort.