THE New Zealand Government through its embassy in Honiara has delivered NZ$3m (SBD$15m) to the country to prepare Gizo and Kilu’ufi hospitals for a possible infiltration of COVID-19.
NZ High Commissioner Her Excellency Georgina Roberts during the handing over of the letter of support to the Secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Jimmy Rodgers said that the support is just one part of the paperwork that has been under the long conversation with key officials on how NZ’s budget support be best utilised.
“So we have been very pleased to be able to have those helpful productive conversations with core officers involved in this very important process,” she said.
She said that every day they are looking for ways to understand each other to work more closely and collaboratively to help address Solomon Islands’ objectives.
The handing over of the letter of support was witnessed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeremiah Manele.
In response, Manele said that Solomon Island is so privileged to have the SBD $15million financial assistance from the New Zealand government and its people to help with the country’s COVID-19 preparedness.
He said the $15m budget support will go towards the upgrading of Gizo Hospital in Western Province and Kilu’ufi in Malaita.
Manele added that upgrade work will include refurbishment and securing of isolation and quarantine wards in each hospital including the upgrade of laboratories and also the procurement of an X-ray and PCR machines for Gizo hospital.
“Gizo is prioritised because of the high risk posed by COVID-19’s possible entry through the Western border,” he explained.
Dr. Rogers said that since the funding is now available with modification designs now in place, work on the refurbishment of the two hospitals will commence immediately.
He said the $15million dollars would be shared amongst the two hospitals depending on the assessment on work that will be carried out.
Meanwhile, Manaele said the support by New Zealand would contribute towards the efforts and work that the government is undertaking to prevent and contain COVID-19 if it reaches the Solomon Islands.
By IAN M.KAUKUI