Tina River Project works with Communities on COVID-19 planning

Participant group photo.

A two-day program was held this week guiding communities and stakeholders in the Project catchment area on how to establish specific COVID-19 response plans and control measures. The event was attended by community representatives and hosted by EPC Contractor, Hyundai Engineering Company (HEC) in conjunction with THL, the Project Office, Guadalcanal Provincial Health and Medical Services and Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) to roll out the Ministry’s Planning Tool for Community Preparedness for Covid-19.  

Since the start of the pandemic, senior Project Officers from SIG, HEC and Lenders have all been working behind the scenes to develop a formal COVID-19 Management Plan for the Project and its various construction stages with assistance and guidance from public health partners at the MHMS, Guadalcanal Provincial Health Department, National Referral Hospital and St John Ambulance. The two-day program will add to the management plans in place, further ensuring the wellbeing of all stakeholders involved with the Project.  

The program was developed by the Director of Guadalcanal Provincial Health and Medical Services Dr. Joel Denty and the Director, Mr. Adrian Leamana of MHMS Health Promotion Division. It was designed to help guide community representatives with the development of plans and also meets the requirements of Project Lenders for pandemic action plans to be in place prior to the commencement of any construction components. 

This essential planning will provide further reassurance for the health and safety of over 3,000 people spread across several villages, who will host the construction of the largest infrastructure Project in the country’s history. The Project, which will take 54 months to complete and employ over 300 locals, will have the added pressures of being constructed during a global pandemic. However, the safety of the workers, the Project Communities and the Solomon Islands remains an issue of paramount importance for the Project and its stakeholders.

Participants during a presentation session. 

Project Manager of HEC, Mr.  Moon said this is a once in a lifetime situation to be in. “No one in the world has experience in building a massive Hydropower Dam amidst a global pandemic. After much discussion with SIG, Donors and Lenders, we have worked on putting together solid plans and processes to ensure we are best equipped and prepared to face any challenges that come our way,” he said. “Our number one priority in response to a potential COVID situation, is to ensure the ongoing safety of all community members and our workers.”  

Following the two-day program, the plans will be endorsed by Guadalcanal Provincial Health Department and Ministry of Health and Medical Services and embedded into the Management Plans for construction processes.  Follow on the training workshop, the communities were required to develop their Action Plan for coping with COVID-19 and establish their community committee. Guadalcanal Provincial Health Department will conduct follow up training, collect the Community Action Plans and include them in their provincial COVID-19 emergency response plans. Eventually, all the stakeholders can equip the protocol for COVID-19 outbreak.