On 21st July, the handover ceremony of the refurbished isolation ward of National Referral Hospital (NRH), which was funded by Government of the People’s Republic of China, was held in NRH. H.E. Ambassador Li Ming, Hon. Dr. Culwick Togamana, Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr. George Malefoasi, CEO of NRH, representatives of the contractor and staff of NRH attended the ceremony.
In his remarks, Ambassador Li Ming said that the refurbished isolation ward was another important milestone of health cooperation between China and Solomon Islands in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. This once again highlights the genuine friendship between our two countries and manifested China’s firm commitment and continued support to Solomon Islands in times of difficulty.
Ambassador Li said, “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has provided assistance in a wide range of areas to help Solomon Islands fight against the pandemic. In addition to the refurbishment of the isolation ward, China has provided Solomon Islands with nucleic acid testing laboratory, PPEs, testing kits and COVID-19 vaccines. Both sides also exchanged experience and technology on prevention and control of the pandemic.”
Ambassador Li said, “Two months ago, on May 21st, SinoPharm vaccine roll-out ceremony was successfully held. I am happy to learn about that vaccination of SinoPharm is progressing well. The safety and efficacy of SinoPharm vaccine is widely recognized. Action speaks louder than words. China's vaccine assistance to Solomon Islands is sincere without any conditions attached. China never pursues ‘vaccine diplomacy’ and has no intention to compete with any other country on vaccine assistance. Instead, China urges all countries of capabilities to make ensure vaccines are accessible and affordable in developing countries and become a global public good.”
In his response, Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana highlighted that the handing over of the completed isolation ward at NRH marks another milestone in current efforts of health to build its capabilities and local capacity to strengthen preparedness and response imminent COVID-19 threat. The facility will build the capacity of NRH with regulated environment to enable the isolation and containment of further infections from patients infected with COVID-19 or any other infectious diseases thereafter.
"As such, thank you Your Excellency Ambassador Li Ming for funding this project. Our diplomatic relationship with People’s Republic of China only begun in late 2019 but we have already experienced great benefit from this partnership in the health sector", said Dr Togamana.
After the handover ceremony, Ambassador Li Ming and Hon. Minister Togamana jointly cut the ribbon to inaugurate the new isolation ward.