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Old 07-01-2003, 08:19 PM
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Solomon Islanders Receive Fresh Funding for Health Services

MEDIA RELEASE
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO
THE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
THE HON CHRIS GALLUS MP


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AA 02 080 18 Dec 2002
Solomon Islanders Receive Fresh Funding for Health Services

Australia will provide $9.6 million (approximately SBD 40 million) in 2002/03 to help improve the delivery of essential health services to Solomon Islands, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Chris Gallus, MP, announced today.

The funding will be channelled through the Health Sector Trust Account which was set up with the Solomon Islands Government in May 2001 to provide funding directly to support health services.

The funding is in addition to $8 million (approximately SBD 28 million) provided to June 2002 and brings total Australian support to the health sector since May 2001 through the Trust Account to $17.6 million (approximately SBD65 million).

'Much of this funding has gone towards helping provide medical supplies and the maintenance of facilities and equipment critical for the delivery of health services. Approximately 60% of funds have been dedicated to providing direct support for provincial health services - important because over 80% of Solomon Islanders live in rural areas,' Mrs Gallus said.

'Since the Trust Account was established it has been a major source of funding for the Solomon Islands health sector and is critically important in dealing with issues such as women and children's health including vaccination programs and treating diseases such as malaria.'

'Along with law and order and economic governance, service delivery- in particular in the health sector- is one of the highest priority sectors for Australia's development cooperation program with Solomon Islands,' Mrs Gallus said.

Australia has provided substantial funding to the country over the past two years for medical related purposes, in addition to Trust Account funding. This includes support to strengthen the management capacity of the Ministry of Health, the National Referral Hospital and provincial health services to ensure that scarce resources are used efficiently.

Solomon Islands also benefits from a number of regional projects funded by Australia, including visits by teams of Australian doctors, the maintenance of medical equipment, family planning training and HIV/AIDS programs.

Contacts
Craig Bildstien (Office of Mrs Gallus) 02 6277 4840
Jo Elsom (AusAID) 02 6206 4960
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