Female PS for Ministry of Health and Medical Services

Pauline Boseto McNeil during her swearing-in as the new Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services before Governor General His Excellency Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui at the Government House last week.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services now has a new Permanent Secretary- Pauline Boseto McNeil.

With the new addition to the number of female Permanent Secretaries in the country, this now brings the total number to four women.

Women from all backgrounds across the country and especially women in the health and medical sector can be proud and optimistic that this is a great milestone and there is hope for many more women who have the potential to thrive to be in decision making positions in the future.

Mrs McNeil from Choiseul Province is not new to the Government arena; she previously worked with the Solomon Islands Government for 15 years, 8 of which was with the Reproductive and Child Health Division of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services as a Public Health Nutritionist and 7 years being the Director at the Social Services Division at the Ministry of National Development Planning and Aid Coordination (MDPAC).

She later joined the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 2007 and has been with the organization for over 10 years, managing the Solomon Islands Country Programme, the biggest UNFPA Country Programme in the Pacific Region in terms of its resources and reach.

In returning back to the government she says it’s about giving back to the country.

“I’ve had the opportunity to acquire the valuable skills and knowledge that I’ve had over the years and it’s time to give back to the country.”

While the new Permanent Secretary looks forward to the job leading one of the biggest and essential government ministries in the country, she also foresees the challenges ahead.

But she believes that getting the basics right is crucial.

“We have to get the basics right and get the house in order in terms of strengthening, improving, auditing, and reviewing the various processes and systems in place and to ensure that delivery of health goods and services including infrastructures and lifesaving measures are expedited and fast-tracked to our health facilities, for our health workers and for our people.

“All these efforts require good accurate evidence and information to guide us, to inform policy, to better strategize our plans and efforts, to leverage and mobilize the resources required with key strategic partners inside and outside of the public sector, with the ultimate goal of getting good results, improved health indicators and making positive outcomes and difference in the lives of our people,” she said.

“It’s not rocket science and of course there are challenges but we have to work hard together to rise above the challenges,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mrs McNeil was a Fulbright scholar alumni graduated with a Master’s of Science Degree in Nutritional Sciences and Policy from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, a Graduate Diploma in Public Health Nutrition and Demography from the University of Canberra and a Bachelors Education degree in Community Health and Nutrition from the University of South Australia.

She will resume her official duties this week at the Ministry’s head office.