THE GOVERNMENT through Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is very pleased to note the commitment made by Members of the Provincial Assembly (MPAs) of Guadalcanal Province to support current COVID-19 health preparedness and response activities including vaccination roll out.
This commitment was made following a one- day consultation held last week between the National and Guadalcanal province ministry of health and the Members of the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly (MPAs), a statement issued by Ministry of Health said.
During the consultation, information around COVID-19 preparedness and response initiatives were outlined and briefly discussed, which includes how communities can better prepare themselves for a community transmission. Sessions also includes awareness around COVID-19 vaccination roll out, the virus and variants, and many other aspects of the current COVID-19 preparedness and response.
The MPAs were also given opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns and doubts around the vaccines which was addressed by heath experts of the Ministry and partners such as UNICEF.
The meeting was an initiative by the Guadalcanal provincial health team to mobilize support from the Guadalcanal provincial assembly members with the hope that their influential power can increase vaccination coverage across the province and mobilize communities to prepare for a community transmission of COVID-19.
In the meeting Guadalcanal province premier, Hon. Francis Sade including members of the provincial assembly assured of their support towards current vaccination roll out in terms of addressing some of the gaps that requires their support to ensure smooth continuation and effective roll out of the vaccines and support health initiatives to prepare communities in Guadalcanal province.
They also seek to align their planned ward tours for 2022 with vaccine roll out so to join in on the awareness and promotion of the vaccines in their respective wards.
This commitment was well received by health and partners such as UNICEF and donors and bilateral partners mainly USAID and Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who had their officials also present at the consultation.
Health Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil thanked Premier Hon. Sade and his government and all the MPAs for their show of support.
“Speeding up community level preparedness and COVID-19 vaccine coverage in Guadalcanal and the rest of the country is key to an effective response to COVID-19 at the moment and your support will greatly help us to achieve this with Guadalcanal province”, explained Mrs. McNeil.
She highlighted that while false and misinformation and rumours around the vaccines continues to affect roll out of these vaccines not only in Guadalcanal but across the country, there are also challenges of getting the vaccines closer to communities and the people who live in remote and hard to reach areas.
“These require resources that are oftendifficult to mobilize and dispatch in time causing delays as well. As such, partnerships, cooperation and working together across sectors and the various levels of governance is critical if we are to increase and reach sooner the 90 percent threshold of vaccination coverage that we are working towards”, explained Mrs. McNeil.
She also encourage other provincial health teams to reach out to their provincial government and MPAs including other potential partners and examine how best everyone can work together to bolster the coverage rate of COVID-19 vaccination across the country.
“As I have stated many times, only together we can come out of this global pandemic successfully with only very minimal effect to our health and lives”.