What We Do
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The Solomon Island Living Memorial Project focuses on improving access to surgical care through out the Solomon Islands. At present all surgical care is provided at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) on Guadalcanal. There is virtually no surgical care available on a regular basis in the outer provinces where 80% of Solomon Islanders live. The reality is: if a child living on one of the outer islands develops appendicitis or an incarcerated hernia they will likely need to travel hundreds of miles by boat in order to receive life saving surgical care. An inflamed appendix can perforate in the time it takes to arrive on Guadalcanal and worse still the bowel trapped in an incarcerated hernia can die in the time it takes to see a surgeon.
There is no CT scanner in the Solomon Islands, no mammogram machine and no laparoscopic surgery available. A patient with cancer is sent home to die because treatment options are limited. Diabetic foot infections are the leading occupier of NRH’s surgical hospital beds. The four surgeons working at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) provide all the surgical care for over 600,000 people. They are dedicated, talented and hard working. But they are isolated and in need of continuing medical education support. The equipment they use is outdated and in poor condition.
The Solomon Island Living Memorial Project is partnered with the surgeons at NRH in order to assist in advancing their careers and surgical skills. Improving the standard of surgical care at NRH is our top priority in order to make this hospital the center of excellence for the country. Volunteer US surgical specialists such as vascular surgeons, ENT surgeons and GI surgeons provide lectures, clinics and workshops on much needed topics. These Continuing Medical Education visits bring topic updates directly to the doctors in Solomon Islands. We donate computers, medical textbooks, reference materials and advanced medical and surgical equipment and are working with the doctors on acquiring a CT scanner. Our doctors are in regular contact with the surgeons and anesthesiologists in Solomon Islands by email. This allows us to discuss patient care as well as future training needs and plans.
While upgrading surgical services at NRH we are also working on extending full time anesthesia and surgical services out into the outer island provincial hospitals. We have been assisting in the training of provincial doctors to provide life saving surgical care. Solomon Island surgical trainees we have worked with will complete their training in 2013 and we encourage them to create departments of surgery at two outer island hospitals. With this increase in manpower full-time surgical care can be established in Gizo and Malaita, where the largest portion of the population lives. Our team will provide support for these new surgical programs until they are fully established. These provincial hospital programs will need equipment and additional staffing. Solomon Island Living Memorial Project supports and encourages the establishment of these surgical departments at provincial hospitals and will continue to provide regular visits, on site teaching and facilitating equipment upgrades.
We are currently working with the surgeons and medical doctors at the NRH on establishing a video-endoscopy program. We have a committed program that provides in country didactic and skills training in endoscopic evaluation and treatment of stomach and colon problems. We are also working towards creating e-libraries and reliable telecommunications connections between NRH, each site and with our program. Connectivity will keep the staff working in the outer island provincial hospitals from feeling isolated while creating critical clinical support. Periodic visits by our volunteer doctors help maintain minimum quality standards as described by WHO’s Global Initiative on Emergency and Essential Surgical Care and to provide continuing medical education training on site.