THE Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Culwick Togamana has met with the Indian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Inbasekar Sundaramurthi, this week.
The meeting was part of a courtesy call the High Commissioner and his officials made to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services headquarters.
At the meeting, Dr Togamana conveyed appreciation to the Government of India on behalf of the Government and people of Solomon Islands for the support rendered by India towards global and national efforts against COVID-19 in the past two years.
“Your excellency we note with appreciation that India supplied 20 million COVID-19 vaccines to 98 countries bilaterally and under the COVAX Facility, of which 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca was donated directly to Solomon Islands.
“We also wish to acknowledge the various Technical Expertise that MHMS has received through partners such as WHO and UNICEF and those directly recruited. Their contribution during COVID-19 preparedness and response and towards the overall health sector is highly commendable,” he said.
The MHMS Minister also emphasised the aspirations of the ministry to strengthen and improve health systems and services, whilst at the same time, explore opportunities and resources to improve the health sector in partnership with the Government of India.
High Commissioner Sundaramurthi, in response, said he was pleased to meet with the MHMS Minister and senior officials, adding that the courtesy visit was critical to initiate discussions on how best the Indian High Commission office could provide support.
“Let us work together to see how best we can offer our support, be it financial or technical support, even opportunities for our medical professional to further their education in public health and medicine in India. There are so many opportunities in which we can partner with and thus, we are very pleased to have this initial meeting.
“Be rest assured that the Government of India will continue to work closely with the Government of Solomon Islands as good health will enable good education and good work output, contributing to the overall development of Solomon Islands,” High Commissioner Sundaramurthi said.
The duo also discussed the finalisation of a draft Memorandum of Understanding that will outline the support to be rendered by India and the roles and responsibilities of MHMS towards the MOU. The drafting of the MOU is a joint effort of MHMS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade with the Government of India.