On 6th February 2019, Mr Ben Angoa, Executive Director of Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA), was honoured to welcome Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Honourable Marise Payne, to SIPPA’s newly renovated clinic in Honiara.
The Senator was joined by the High Commissioner to New Zealand and Head of the Office of the Pacific, His Excellency Ewen MacDonald, the First Assistant Secretary Pacific Bilateral Division, Mr James Gilling, and DFAT personnel from the Australian High Commission to Solomon Islands. Representatives from People with Disability Solomon Islands, the local Disabled Persons’ Organisation who were key partners during the renovation of our clinic, were also present.
Mr Angoa welcomed the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the clinic before conducting a short tour, during which they discussed SIPPA’s work and the demand for different clinical services and contraceptives, including long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). Mr Angoa also shared highlights from SIPPA’s outreach program in partnership with the Ministry of Health, through which SIPPA have delivered SRH services to very remote parts of the country, often travelling long distances on foot. For example, when the team visited Kuameti in Guadalcanal, they walked for close to eight hours, climbing three mountains and crossing two rivers, all while carrying their equipment and supplies. Once they reached the community, the team spent two days providing SRH and non-SRH medical services, running awareness sessions and presenting dramas on the importance of SRH, which was particularly impactful in driving the uptake of contraception. As a result of this outreach effort, the community asked SIPPA to establish a permanent clinic nearby and have provided a site to enable this. SIPPA is currently scoping the renovations needed to commence service delivery.
The newly renovated principal clinic in Honiara, funded by the Australian Government through the Partnerships for Health and Rights Program, will be officially launched by the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Rod Brazier, shortly. Built over 50 years ago, the building is one of the oldest in Honiara and required significant modernisation to ensure that SIPPA can continue to provide high quality health services to their local community. Following the renovations, SIPPA has added three additional consultation rooms, and have reduced client wait times and improved overall client experience. Already, the clinic is seeing more clients every day.
Angoa expressed his gratitude to DFAT in Honiara and Canberra, and the Australian Government more broadly, saying “the clinic that we stand in would not have been possible without your tireless support.