BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
THE ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is working hard to make sure the provinces have GeneXpert machines.
The GeneXpert machine is the device used to test for covid-19.
Speaking in a radio talkback show on 28th June, permanent secretary for Health and Medical ministry, Mrs Pauline McNeil implied that the border provinces will be the first to be introduced to the machine, followed by Malaita and Makira-Ulawa provinces.
It is not clear what MHMS’s plans are for the remaining provinces.
“We are trying to reach out to the provinces in terms of GeneXpert machines,” McNeil said in the SIBC talkback show.
“Our technical working group left on Friday and the work is to use GeneXpert machines in our provinces.
“This is because the machine is low tech, it’s not resource-intensive and already the capacity is there for sustainability
“So, we are looking at Gizo, Taro and Helena Goldie hospital because of the border and then we will reach out to Kilufi and Kirakira for GeneXpert roll out.
“So, as we speak my team from the ministry is gearing up today to go to Gizo to look at the set up at the Gizo Hospital and then during the week on Wednesday another team will leave for Kilufi to assess the set up in Kilufi,” said McNeil.
She also adds that while MHMS is working hard in response to the coronavirus-19 threat, they have not lost sight of their essential services to the nation.
“We are working to ensure we maintain our essential services so that we maintain our status on some of our health indicators,” said McNeil.
The GeneXpert machine is a device which was originally used to detect tuberculosis and drug-resistant bacterial strains. Due to its fast-results, easy-to-handle and accuracy attributes, it has been readjusted to test for covid-19 approved by world health authorities.
New Zealand, Australia and the World Health Organisation (WHO) joined hands to make the highly sought after GeneXpert PCR testing cartridges available for Solomon Islands in early May this year.
The cartridges have been specifically re-designed for covid-19 testing.
It is understood Solomon Islands has 10 GeneXpert machines, including in some provinces, which are normally used to detect tuberculosis.