Malaita PHEOC ramps up COVID-19 preparedness with support from NHEOC

The Ministry of Health and Medical Service’s (MHMS), National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) continues its COVID-19 preparedness and response support towards Provincial Health Emergency Operation Centers (PHEOCs). 

Last week a team from NHEOC was deployed to Malaita and successfully completed a rapid assessment of Malaita’s PHEOC as well as facilitating a two-days training workshop to review and strengthen Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for deployments, quarantine, operations and points of entry.  

Team Leader Dr. Alex Munamua said that the rapid assessment had enabled the team to identify gaps and challenges. These are now the priority for Malaita Province. 

“During the deployment we have also conducted a two days training workshop on Standard Operating Procedures which has greatly assisted various health teams to map out in detail what they will do and how they will achieve it in different scenarios from deployments and quarantine to operations at points of entry”.

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Provincial Health Director for Malaita Province Dr. Henry Kako acknowledged the support stating that it will greatly enhance the province’s readiness to prevent any spread or community transmission of COVID-19 should it find its way into the country. 

“ The trainings on SOP facilitated by colleagues from the NHEOC will also assist us in our deployments to Malaita outer islands as well as when quarantining possible entries from the border and inter- sectoral collaboration at the points of entry”, explained Dr. Kako. 

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In Malaita, all nurses have been trained on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, case definition, case management, and surveillance. Health frontline workers have also been trained on Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and will continue as an ongoing program. 

MHMS Incident Controller Dr. Nemia Bainivalu highlighted that NHEOC is providing support to Malaita PHEOC as per their requests from a situation report received and ongoing discussion with Malaita provincial Health Director. “As such we will be supporting Malaita province to review their COVID-19 heath emergency preparedness, response and recovery work plan as well as providing necessary assistance to progress their preparedness and response capacity, moving forward”.

“NHEOC in the coming days will again be deploying several of its staff to support Malaita health team in their planned visit and assessment of Malaita Outer Islands and to further assist Malaita emergency operation center, explained the Incident Controller. 

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Apart from this, the NHEOC is putting together a structured Train the Trainer (TOT) training program in COVID-19 Health Emergency Management, where instructors and health staffs from provinces and national, Q-Station management staffs, RSIP staffs, ports of entry managers and Team Leaders, private organization, will be trained.

Overall work on supporting the PHEOCs to ensure enhanced provincial capacity and ownership of their preparedness and response efforts and simultaneously to improve their health systems Is ongoing both from the MHMS and its NHEOC.