Healthy central market project to protect the health of people

Press Release

9 July 2014, Honiara – The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and Honiara City Council (HCC), with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), launched their Healthy Central Market Project in Honiara, today, declaring it a tobacco, betel nut and alcohol free environment.

The project seeks to create a new friendly market atmosphere, where everybody has a sense of belonging and ownership; a place that promotes ecological balance, upholds dignity, and promotes leisure and learning.

“We want to make Honiara Central Market a model healthy marketplace for the whole of Solomon Islands,” said Dr. Lester Ross, Permanent Secretary of MHMS.

MHMS was awarded USD 20,000 by WHO to transform Honiara Central Market into a healthy, safe and clean environment after winning ‘best proposal’ in a Pacific-wide competition last year.

MHMS and HCC will roll out the project over a one year period. The first step is to ban the sale and use of tobacco, betel nut and alcohol in Honiara Central Market. The ban of smoking is part of the “NO SMOK-Solomon Islands” campaign that was launched in 2013 and also links up with the Tobacco Free Pacific campaign 2025.

MHMS, HCC and WHO also want to ensure that the food being sold is nutritious to help combat the increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases. These are diseases that cannot be ‘caught’, such as obesity, cancer and diabetes.

“If we don’t act now, the consequences could be devastating,” said Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. “WHO commends MHMS and HCC for initiating this project and addressing these issues. The impact of noncommunicable diseases goes beyond health: their socioeconomic effects are severe, often striking as people are in the prime of their working lives, reducing productivity and household income.”

Also included in the Healthy Central Market Project, are designated places for selling and eating food, proper storage facilities for market vendors, and installing water and sanitation services, including public toilets, for patrons to use.

MHMS, HCC and WHO will continue to work together to improve the health of the people of Solomon Islands.

For more information, please contact:

Ministry of Health and Medical Services
National Health Promotion Division
Ph: (+677) 25205