Training to empower communities against COVID-19 continues in Honiara and Guadalcanal

Over 100 community leaders, elders, youths, men and women participated last week in two separate trainings organized by health for Honiara and Tina Rural Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP) communities to equip them with the skills and knowledge to utilize the Health COVID-19 community empowerment toolkit to assist communities plan and prepare to respond to COVID-19.

In the past months, MHMS had developed a “Community Preparedness for COVID-19 Planning Tool Booklet” which was lately implemented with communities along the western border in the Shortland Islands, Malaita and Central Islands. This Booklet is locally developed and contextualize to our context. Janet Nole, one of the women community leaders at Jericho next to Zion in Honiara said that the training was very useful.” The training on this COVID-19 awareness and empowerment toolkit had enhance my understanding about COVID-19 especially its signs and symptoms and the preventative measures but more importantly what as a community we can do and how we can do it to keep our communities protected against this virus”.

She said that she is very motivated to return to her community to start implementing what she has learned this week. “Establishment of a COVID-19 community committee to plan for our community’s COVID-19 preparedness and response for, a possible outbreak or community transmission, and basically mobilize community support to work together towards implementation of the plan is top of my priorities”.

At the Tina Hydro training, community representative thanked the Ministry of Health and the Guadalcanal health team for conducting the training stating that it will enable community participation towards national efforts against COVID-19.

“Thank you so much Ministry of Health and the Guadalcanal provincial health team for the training on the toolkit as now we can meaningfully and effectively play our part towards the overall national efforts against this COVID-19 global pandemic”, stated the community representative.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Mrs. Pauline McNeil highlighted that the collective action by everyone across sectors and all levels of governance down to the communities is critical in efforts against COVID-19.“ Since the start of our COVID-19 operations, awareness has very much been part of our priorities. With the message now out in the streets, it is time that we all participate in the fight against COVID-19 and the toolkit will be useful to guide COVID-19 preparedness and response at community level”.

She also highlighted that we have all along been a step ahead of the global pandemic in terms of our preparedness, “initially for possible entry and as a result though registering total of 17 positive cases, all have been contained and in the process of eliminating the virus. Today we are again gearing up for the worst possible scenario that is a community transmission or outbreak”. Mrs. McNeil thanked all health staff deployed for the training, acknowledge community representatives who responded to attend the training and the express sincere appreciation towards the Tina Rural Hydropower Development Project Office, Tina Hydropower Limited & Hyundai Engineering Company Limited for supporting this initiative by meeting all financial costs of the training.