BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
THE National Public Health Laboratory last week officially received its new office block worth SBD$ 1.1 million.
The building is funded under the World Trade Organization – Enhanced Integrated Framework – ECAT project (EIF-ECAT project) through the Solomon Islands Government – Enhancing Capacity for Agriculture Trade Project (SI-ECAT).
Speaking during the official hand over Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Jeremiah Manele said one of the intended results of the ECAT project is improving capacities of entities such as NPHL to carry out test, ensuring food safety and quality assurance.
“This is the “Big Dream”. To have our very own lab accredited. So that we can lower some of the costs of international trade, mainly in relation to our exports,”Manele said.
He said “One of the very crucial considerations is for the NPHL staff to have their own office.
“We have seen and recognised that our NPHL officers have been using the Lab for testing and also as their office, which defeats the “Big Dream”.
Manele said the opening of this new block is a step forward for NPHL and the country.
“I wish to end with word of thanks to the WTO EIF program in Geneva and the development partners who have contributed at the global level in support of Least Developing Countries (LDC’s) such us Solomon Islands. Through the EIF ECAT Project, we are able to have this support and therefore this office building.
“I hope that this building will be well looked after for many more years to come. I would also like to inform, that a plaque of the EIF program will be unveiled to recognise the support we receive from the EIF development partners,” he said.
Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Culwick Togamana said the National Public Health Laboratory New office block extension is important.
Togamana said the importance of having a dedicated space for laboratory staff, not nearly to ensure that it guarantee occupation health and safety at work, but most importantly incompliance with International Standardisation Organisation.
“The new office space will enable NPHL to meet current ISO accommodation requirement which will boost local testing capacity to meet International standard for the export of Agricultural commodities such as cassava and Taro including our very own Soltuna products, kava, noni juice and so forth,” he said.
“I am extremely impressed with the new complex this is the first time in history for our NPHL scientists and technicians to be adequately accommodated in a proper office space,” he added.
He adds that NPHL plays a pivotal role in performing quality test and measurements in local products to export to the international market.
Moreover, the office space is constructed and completed within the targeted time frame of six months.