BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
CABINET has endorsed $20 million in support of the emergency preparedness and response in terms of the current situation, says Pauline McNeil, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS).
Mrs McNeil said the approval of this budget follows a cabinet paper submission last week by the ministry of health.
She said this money will be shared with MHMS partner ministries to support their work in terms of emergency preparedness and response in terms of the current situation (coronavirus) the country is facing.
She said the ministry is thankful to cabinet for endorsing the money in support of the emergency preparedness and response.
“The ministry of health has submitted a cabinet paper last week and thankfully to the cabinet it has endorsed an amount of 20m in support of the emergency preparedness and response
“But of course the support is dependent on how this scenario (coronavirus) will take place weather if it escalates then of course it would need a lot more budgetary support and resources.
“We have technical support and assistance from our partner urgency in the ministry in terms of Human Resource capacity, technical assistance and the financial assistance that is the commitment made by the government in allocating the ministry of health SBD20m but of course this will be also shared with our other partner ministry to see that we are jointly accessing the pot of money,” said McNeil.
She adds, “The country didn’t call for the coronavirus to come and didn’t plan for it and therefore the ministry didn’t plan any budget allocation for this emergency.
“I know we are prone to disasters and other natural disasters and we do allocate for disasters but for such emergency like what is happening right now (coronavirus) we have not put any budget aside in terms of our submission last year.”
Dr Yogesh Choudhri, Technical Advisor World Health Organisation (WHO) office in Solomon Islands, said WHO is supportive of initiatives by the MHMS to try and prevent the coronavirus and any other outbreaks from entering the country.
Choudhri said, “We work together in accorded manner to address and ensure that global health security.
“Also we are all in together and we are happy to provide support to the government of Solomon Islands.”