Solomon Islands
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The Need to Reach the Unreached, an Ongoing Reality and Challenge

The Minister for Health, Dr. Culwick Togamana highlighted that the need to reach the unreached in the Solomon Islands is an ongoing challenge for the government and the Ministry of Health.

These were the statements made at the recent “reaching the unreached” agenda at the WHO 73rd Western Pacific Region Committee meeting last week in Manila Philippines. 

Dr Togamana explained that scattered islands, growing population and consequently increasing demand for better health care services are amongst the many contributing factors to these challenges.

“Solomon Islands larger population live in remote islands with no access to airports, and where ships would normally reach them only 3 to 6 times in a year. This makes the provision of health care and delivery of goods and social services challenging, let alone the high cost”, explained Dr Togamana.

The Health Minister said that the Solomon Islands noted in the draft Regional Framework for Reaching the Unreached in the Western Pacific (2022-2030) some of the reasons why certain proportion of the population may be unreached and the issues that could exacerbate or help mitigate the risks.

Referring to restrictions of movements for months as part of preventing spread of COVID-19 in the communities, Dr Togamana highlighted that these public health interventions though with good intentions can also affect people of low socio-economic status, children, people with chronic diseases and those with physical disabilities from accessing basic health care services.

The recent Covid pandemic demonstrated that misinformation or lack of correct information has contributed to preventing certain population from accessing effective public health interventions.

“Our COVID-19 vaccination rate for the target population on two doses is still below 60% and this is largely due to misinformation circulated by influential individuals and those in leadership positions and positions of influence”, stated Dr. Togamana.

The Health Minister said that despite these challenges, Solomon Islands remains committed to maintaining a free health care policy for its citizens despite the growing cost of service delivery.

The policy ensures a safety net for access to essential health services for the majority of Solomon Islanders who depend on the informal sector for their livelihood.

Source: Press Release, Ministry of Health and Medical Services