Health sector faces communication and logistic challenge during simulation lockdown

Dr Nemia Bainivalu

The health sector has encountered challenges in communication, coordination and logistics during the 36-hour simulation exercise.  

Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Incident Controller Dr Bainivalu highlighted they also face some challenges in human resources.

In a latest joint media conference, Dr Bainivalu said a de-brief will be conducted this week to go through each particular area in detail.

However, Dr Bainivalu said from the previous lockdown last year, one of their challenges are patients with mental illness that roam the street during the lockdown.

The doctor told SIBC News when asked during a press conference prior to this year’s lockdown.

“But we are also looking at tangible options how we can address this, because it also comes down to the issue of care, welfare and human rights as well,” Dr Bainivalu said.

He said the other one is the response time at various levels. 

We are also looking at solutions within the government and non-government organizations, so we are partnering with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to get their volunteers to come in as well.

SIBC News team was exempted during the 36 hours lockdown that ended on Tuesday morning to cover the simulation lockdown. Our team observed mentally ill people roam freely during the simulation lockdown.

Atleast four mentally I’ll people were observed roam the streets then, one at Tandai, one at Point Cruz and two at Kukum.

A mentally ill person spotted at Solomon Motors , Tandai street

One observer said during the event of actual community transmission, the mentally ill could pose risk for contracting and spreading the virus.

Assistant Commissioner Corporate Support, Ian Bara told SIBC News in an interview on Monday that a mentally ill person was among the 20 people who were apprehended during the first night of the lockdown.

“Now that one of them had been involved in a rock-throwing incident during the lockdown, we had him arrested and handed him over to Health Authorities to keep him off the street,” the Assistant Commissioner said.

However, Dr Bainivalu said the National Referral Hospital (NRH), Honiara City Council, Guadalcanal Province and the Health Ministry will meet to assess where they did well and identify gaps that they need to address.

“Looking from the points of benefit we gain thus far, and where we look to improve on – moving forward.

“From a multi-sectoral point of view, we did the response not only within the health sector but also other sectors as well, such as the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), infrastructure, camp management – on how we work and move people from communities, or from the hospital or clinic to the quarantine facility and so forth. 

We actually activate standard operation procedures in real time,” Dr Bainivalu said.

He said the good thing is their collaboration with other sectors, like the RSIPF, NGOs and other emergency workers.

“For example, during the contact tracing, we cautious on how the community may react if we come and do contact tracing, so we have the support of RSIPF with us as well.

During the process, we encountered things outside of the health sector, we had some vehicle logistical issues, some vehicle break-down, we need fuel and so forth.

Hence, we link with National Disaster Oversight Committee colleagues for infrastructure to provide that support, and I think that is very important as well because where we will put people for quarantine or isolation – they are within buildings,” Dr Bainivalu said.

He explained, in real time – NRH still run its services, still take in emergency and staff still on shift. He said the unfortunate rock throwing incident from public also affect their services.

“That also goes back to how we work with other sectors, such as in providing logistical arrangements and security coordination,” the Incident Controller added. 

A lessons-learnt workshop on the 36-hour simulation lockdown exercise will be organized soon and the multisectoral simulation team also invites the media to provide their inputs.

by Jared Koli

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