The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) continues to appreciate the tremendous support from the private sector since the commencement of its COVID-19 operations in 2020. Friday last week, the Ministry received 200 litres of pure (100%) alcohol donated by the Solomon Breweries Limited (Solbrew) to support health efforts against COVID-19, mainly with COVID-19 testing.
Pure or absolute alcohol plays an important role in the overall process of COVID-19 testing in qPCR machines. Currently the National Referral Hospital Molecular laboratory also uses qPCR machine and the alcohol is useful in the extraction of RNA and DNA an important phase in the overall COVID-19 test process. Essentially this means, without pure alcohol, COVID-19 testing using qPCR would not be possible.
With its capability to disinfect, alcohol (70 percent) is also used in the molecular laboratory to prevent contamination that can lead to false positives thus contributes towards the accuracy of the results as well as maintain Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) standards protecting lab technicians from contracting the virus while performing the tests.
Peralt van der Merwe, Managing Director of Solomon Breweries Limited in handing over the 200 litres of pure alcohol, acknowledged the government’s efforts against COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health as the lead agency.
“These efforts have significantly contributed towards Solomon Islands being amongst a very few countries around the world to be COVID-19 free for several months after it was declared an international public health crises by WHO. To date, COVID-19 remains contained and is being eliminated within the government managed facilities. This has enabled the company to continue with our operations as opposed to a lockdown”, highlighted Mr. Merwe.
He added that the COVID-19 global pandemic had brought with it new challenges for all development sectors, the private sector included. “As such new partnerships, collaborations and cooperation is also required, across sectors, in order that we effectively tackle this global pandemic. Thus we are very pleased to provide this support today towards the NRH’s molecular laboratory”.
Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) Incidence Controller, Dr Gregory Jilini stated that the donation received is highly appreciated and the ministry remains grateful for the continuous support of Solomon Breweries limited.
“Ministry is indeed grateful and very appreciative towards the donation made by Solbrew today. COVID-19 testing has been one of the pillars of our COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts. It had enabled us to swiftly detect COVID-19 and timely move to contain and eliminate it within quarantine and isolation facilities”.
“But ensuring that we can continuously conduct COVID-19 testing is also challenging given the high global demand for the various vital components and accessories of COVID-19 test machines and the testing capabilities. Thus the support received from Solbrew is timely and will enabled us to perform COVID-19 testing in the months ahead”.
The handover also included some medicines and medical supplies from Solbrew’ s health facility.
The support received today from the Solbrew to support health efforts against COVID-19 is not the first. In April last year the company also donated medicines and medical supplies to the value of SBD350 thousand to the NRH pharmacy.