30 June 2020
Solomon Islands: Reducing NCDs is a prerequisite to addressing social and economic inequity and accelerating sustainable development.
An article in today’s Island Sun newspaper written by, Mavis Podokolo, quotes Mrs. Pauline McNeil the Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health as saying, “While we are working hard on our preparations and response plans on covid-19 our other core business of health has to continue.”
The article continued, quote:
“Whilst the Ministry of Health is focusing its work on coronavirus-19 Preparedness and Response Plans, normal health services will still be discharged.
“Mrs. McNeil said the ministry’s normal health services or other core programmes will still run. Like NCD is still a major issue in the country but their team is also ensuring that it is attend as according to their Annual Operation Plan (AOP) activities for this year
“So, we have the AOP 2020 but at the same time we have the Preparedness and Response plan (PRP) to also implement so actually we have two plans to implement back to back for this year.
“So, in terms of NCD its programme is ongoing in terms of trainings at the provinces, our other key programs on RWASH is still running, so, as the rural water supplies and sanitation is running in provinces and immunisation programs are still continuing.
“So we don’t lose sight on those core programmes of the ministry of health, it is constant like I said we have two plans to work on back to back and that’s our normal AOP and on top of that we have to also ensure the activities of PRP are delivered at the same time,” Mrs. McNeil said.
End of quote:
Mrs. McNeil’s assurances I feel sure will be welcomed at home and especially, I believe, by the WHO that has been increasing support efforts to strengthen its design and implementation policies, including for more resilient health systems and health services and infrastructure, to treat people living with NCDs and prevent and control their risk factors during any outbreak of Covid-19.
While the ongoing focus is preventing coronavirus from entering the Solomon Islands, we must not lose sight of the fact that NCDs are one of the major health and development challenges of the 21st century.
The Solomon Islands government has laid out plans for sustainable development, but the incidence of NCD’s is particularly worrying in the Solomons and the cause of many deaths occurring annually at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and poses a significant threat to achieving expected development goals.
Improving the health of the people, including preventing and controlling NCDs, is integral to ensuring progress across the three pillars of economic growth, social equity, and environmental protection—with the ultimate goal of achieving sustainable development.
I am pleased to know the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health is committed to improving the health of all in the Solomons in accordance with its laid out Operational Plan for 2020.