First female premier of a Solomons province pleads for NZ covid funds

Isabel Premier Rhoda Sikilabu
Isabel Premier Rhoda Sikilabu ... isolation centres are "filling up and are run down." Image: RNZ/ABC

RNZ Pacific

The first female premier of a Solomon Islands province is appealing to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to help her country manage covid-19 in the community.

People travelling between Honiara and Isabel Province were being tested for the virus at four testing centres, and if they test positive they were isolated at a makeshift centre.

The Isabel Premier, Rhoda Sikilabu, said she was desperate for funding to make improvements to the isolation centres because “they’re filling up and are run down”.

“I really, really need support. We have no place to … isolate these people,” Sikilabu said.

She wants New Zealand to provide funding for improvements for the centres.

“I, as a woman and a mother, I have so many worries and concerns for families offloading with babies, children,” she said.

“I really, really need support in covid. Please I would like to appeal to the Prime Minister.”

Focus on environmental and women’s issues
Sikilabu plans to focus on environmental and women’s issues, and is hopeful of bringing changes to her region as well as transform old mindsets.

She wants women to have authority to speak about their land and property in regards to resources.

“Reforestation is one of the priorities that I will tackle and maybe I can impact more on how women can address or say more on their property, their land ownership,” she said.

”The environment is very, very important to women just now.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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