The Public Health Emergency Bill (PHEB) Taskforce team have completed consultations on the bill in Auki, Malaita province and successfully captured many of the constructive inputs and feedback from the participants, Tuesday 6 October.
The consultation was graced by the presence and participation of the provincial Premier Honourable Daniel Suidani and members of his executive in the entire session together with 20 other participants from the various provincial government ministries, non-government organizations such as Oxfam and Solomon Islands Red Cross and others who have been engaged in COVID-19 operations of the province.
The consultation kicked off with presentations on the background of COVID-19, global, regional and national updates by the team lead Dr. Greg Jilini Deputy Secretary Health Care, Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) followed by International Health Regulations and the draft health emergency bill presented by MHMS Legal Officer Ms. Yvonne Ogaoga.
Following the presentations, participants were grouped into five groups discussing and providing feedback to allocated sections of the bill and in intervals of 10 to 15 minutes rotated to the next sections until all groups covered all the sections. Each groups were later given time to present their discussions.
Delivering his closing remarks, team lead Dr Greg Jilini thanked participants for their time and effort with special acknowledgment to the Premier and his executive.
“I thank all of you for your time and effort today in providing invaluable constructive feedback and recommendations towards the bill. Special thanks goes to premier and your executive members for having to postponed your executive meeting scheduled for today to join the consultations.
“All your contributions today are well noted and be rest assured will be taken into consideration as we continue to shape and define the bill in preparation for submission to parliament in November”.
In response, Premier Suidani thanked the team for bringing the consultation to Malaita and thanked all who had participated in the consultations.
“Thank you to the taskforce team for bringing the bill to Malaita so that Malaita province can also have its feedback considered in the finalization of the bill. To my executive members, the decision to postpone our meeting today is so that we can also contribute to this piece of proposed legislation. That is our key role as provincial assembly members and I thank everyone who participated today”, stated Mr. Suidani.
If enacted the PHEB will replace the current State of Public Emergency which will expire at Midnight on 24th of November.
The PHEB is intended to achieve a more effective and well-coordinated response to the COVID-19 global pandemic or other similar public health events of concerns. Because of the absence of a legislation that deals with public health events of concern such as COVID-19, the country had to rely on the State of Public Emergency for its COVID-19 preparedness and responses which should be in fact the last resort.