By Gary Hatigeva
THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services is in the process of putting together resources and funds for the establishment of a new unit.
This, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Dr Tenneth Dalipanda revealed when questioned on the status of health and other related acts, with regards to consumable goods and food services provided in the country.
The unit according to Mr Dalipanda is established to execute all its Health acts, governing the operations of restaurants, shops and other related commercial services that people receive.
The Enforcement Unit was proposed to carry out work under the Ministry programme, enforcing its long overdue acts that were passed decades ago but said to have lacked implementation from the Ministry and stakeholders involved.
The PS however clarified that the intention of establishment is not to overshadow the good work of police and related law enforcing institutes, but basically to enforce strictly, Health Act related matters.
He said the Unit’s establishment is also to ensure service provided to the Solomon Islands population, meet health standards as laid out in the laws in order to protect their health safety.
He added that officers engaged will do follow-ups based on reports and closely monitor the health side of businesses and ensure there is constant compliance.
He however urged the general public to help the ministry and key stakeholders involved in the implementation and enforcement exercises, by reporting matters to the ministry so those caught breaching these laws are properly dealt with.
He then assured that the Ministry will ensure the unit carries out its roles without influence or corrupt related practices, and this will be done through group work approach.
He explained that instead of the usual practice, under the new unit, there will be at least four officers engaged in a group so that while there is thorough monitoring and inspections on service providers, those involved also do check and balance on each other.
The Unit is expected to start rolling out its programmes after the passage of the 2018 budget, which is expected around April.