Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare officiated the opening of the 18th South Pacific Nurses Forum and 7th South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance Meeting in Honiara yesterday.
The five-day meeting attended by 300 nurses and midwifery officers from the South Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand is convened under the theme ‘Towards Nursing Excellence for Universal (Pacific) Health.’
In his keynote address, the Prime Minister said it is quite evident from the conference theme that there are formidable health and nursing challenges that the delegates would deliberate on and it is everyone’s hope that the deliberations would lead to a healthier and happier Pacific Islands region.
“In any case that’s the purpose of such gatherings whereby professionals such as yourselves will be encouraged to share and learn from each other, especially from the different Pacific countries you come from so that these sharing can lead to new understandings and better knowledge to improve nursing and thus contribute further to Universal Health Coverage in the South Pacific Region.
“From your programme I can see that you have some quite important sub-themes to discuss such as leveraging nursing leadership for health outcomes, strategic management of nursing human resources for health, innovative nursing education for improved healthcare, developing nursing workforce or effective services delivery, improved health services delivery through nursing practice and impact of nursing regulation on health service delivery.
“I believe the meeting will provide an opportunity for you as professionals to come up with very realistic and attainable goals. Nowadays in professional discourse, we talk of potential outcomes, outputs and deliverables and amongst modern management lexicon, success is highly perceived and defined in quantifiable and empirical terms.
“Obviously these issues are also directly related to public finances where often the financial resources available in the country’s health sector are insufficient for the needs of either the Ministry (of Health and Medical Services) or population as a whole,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister said it is fortuitous that this important meeting is held in Solomon Islands at this point in time and on that note added that the Solomon Islands Government has just completed its 20 year National Development Strategy for 2016 to 2035.
He said this NDS focuses on the two key areas of social and economic livelihoods, hence the national vision to ‘Improving the Social and Economic Livelihoods of all Solomon Islanders.
Prime Minister Sogavare said this NDS is also aligned with the newly adopted United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda and that as part of the former’s overall vision and long-term objective to achieving improvement in the social and economic livelihood of Solomon Islanders, it has identified five key long-term objectives.
He said for the purpose of the occasion, Objective 3 of the NDS is for “All Solomon Islanders to have access to quality health and education.”
“In as far as health is concerned in Objective 3, access to quality health care is a universal aim for all Solomon Islanders.
“In fact this objective is predicated on a reality in this country that life expectancy has not improved since 2000 and women’s access to health and family planning services is particularly poor in rural areas and
maternal, infant and child mortality rates remain high,” the Prime Minister added.
Prime Minister Sogavare said in the broader scheme of things, development needs a healthy population and the vision for health in the National Development Strategy is for health to contribute to the well-being of all Solomon Islands people.
Present at the opening ceremony was the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Kaitu’u Angikimua Tautai, World Health Organisation Country Representative, Dr Sevil Huseyhova, Counsellor for Social Sector in Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Melissa Stutsel, President of the International Council of Nurses, Dr Judith Shamian, President of Solomon Islands Nurses Association, Macnald Tau, Director of Solomon Islands Nursing Council Board, Michael Larui and Solomon Islands Nursing Council Board Member, Pastor Garry Manele.