Government explains $SBD15m NZ funding support
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has clarified the SBD 15 million dollars COVID-19 funding support from the New Zealand government.
This follows the Leader of Opposition’s call for the government to explain the whereabouts of the funding support provided by the New Zealand government to assist work on the Gizo and Kilu’ufi hospitals in the media this week.
In a statement today MHMS confirmed that the money was deposited into the Ministry’s account in August and utilization of the funds have already commenced.
It says the purpose of this funding was to provide emergency assistance to be used in priority areas, as determined by government, which would help alleviate the impacts of COVID -19 in Solomon Islands.
The statement says such funds will be utilized for strengthening health system responses and enhancing COVID-19 prevention and containment capabilities.
The funds are not for supporting the Economic Stimulus Package initiative of the Government.
These two areas in which the funds will be allocated are amongst the key output areas of the Ministry’s overall COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan (PRP) in which Kilufi and Gizo hospital in Malaita and Western Provinces are also included.
Work on utilization of the funds has commenced with $1,228,948 million, (8 percent of budgetary support from NZ) already used to procure the Shimadzu digital mobile X-ray machine for the National Referral Hospital (NRH).
Over $2 million is allocated for COVID-19 laboratory, testing equipment, lab consumables and lab upgrade both at NRH and the provinces. $1.2 million towards specialized equipment for triage and $1 million to support health logistics in the provinces specifically land and sea transport.
With prevention and containment, more than $10 million of the funds are allocated towards upgrade of health infrastructure in the provinces including installation of incinerators for waste management at selected provincial health facilities.
Nevertheless, substantial amount of the funding will be allocated to the National Referral Hospital, Gizo, Taro and Kilufi hospitals in the provinces since they are within the emergency declared zones.
To date, the Ministry is working on the details of infrastructure upgrade to ensure that all specifications are aligned to meet infection, prevention and control measures amongst other health requirements and as soon as it is finalized and endorsed, work on upgrade will commence.
MHMS also adds that like all donor funds within the Ministry, the New Zealand budgetary support to the Ministry is securely held in the MHMS Development Partners Account. There is no missing money as claimed.