The Rotary Club of Berwick has partnered with the Rotary Clubs of Ballarat West and the Rotary Club of Honiara to equip a major dental centre that will improve 1000's of lives in the Solomon Islands. 

Using the expertise of Dr David Goldsmith (RC Ballarat West) and his team of volunteer dental equipment experts combined with the sourcing and shipping power of Rotary Donations in Kind (DIK) and then added to the tax-deductible Rotary Australia World Community Service, Project 29/2018-19, we have an opportunity to make a lot of peoples lives a whole lot better. Please read on.

The Solomon Islands has a population of over 625,000 scattered over more than 900 islands but Government services and most facilities are centered on the capital, Honiara.  The Solomon Islands is one of the world’s poorest nations with a GDP that has been ranked 173rd. of 185 nations. The National Referral Hospital (NRH) in the capital, Honiara, is the largest hospital in the Solomon Islands and looks after the most acute cases from all over the country with over 300 beds and over 50 doctors. This hospital sees the vast majority of the medical cases in the Solomon Islands and is often overstretched, and at times at bursting point

The NRH Dental clinic was closed in 2012 . Dental Services at the NRH are currently being provided out of a single dental chair caravan parked in the hospital grounds.   Public dental services are rudimentary, even in Honiara, and are mostly limited to extractions and pain relief. Each morning over 100 pain patients attend the only public dental clinic in Honiara, which is located in the Police Station in Chinatown. It has 4 chairs so they only see the first 30 patients and send the others away. There is a high level of edentulism but the public dental prosthetic lab. has been closed for 4 years. In addition, Betel Nut chewing, which is common in the Solomon Islands, results in one of the highest incidences of Oral Cancer in the world

However, there is no shortage of dental professionals. The Head of Population Oral Health Research, Dr Ellison Vane, tells me there are 40 qualified dentists in the Solomon Islands, but the lack of facilities means many are working part time, or not at all, and they are losing their skills. In addition, there are 15 dental students currently training to graduate at the Fiji and PNG dental schools.

 BETEL NUT IN HOSPITAL Grounds
TEMPORARY CITY PUBLIC DENTAL CLINIC IN CHINATOWN POLICE STATION
 KULUM DENTAL CLINIC, HONIARA(since closed)

 

An ideal building within the hospital grounds has been offered to the dental department by the NRH with 8 empty rooms, to set up a National Dental Clinic at the NRH. However, the hospital has neither the funds nor the expertise to equip a new dental facility. Ballarat West Rotarian Dr David Goldsmith and specialist dental equipment engineer Peter Copp PHF , have over 20 years’ experience in doing such work in Tonga, the Cook Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji. 

This project involves the creation of a completely new Oral Health facility for the Solomon Islands with five new dental surgeries equipped with chair/operating units, sterilisation facilities, cabinetry, dental instruments and supplies and a Dental Prosthetics lab. We have donated Nine A-dec Cascade dental chair/operating units and other equipment to the NRH

Contacts have been established with all the stakeholders. The NRH will commit to all ongoing funding, wages etc. to make the project sustainable.  A Memorandum of Understanding to this effect has been signed with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and the Rotary Clubs of Ballarat West, Berwick and Honiara. This project will also enable the existing dental staff to extend the range of services provided by qualified dental specialists

Rotarian dentist Dr David Goldsmith, and specialist dental equipment engineer Peter Copp have recently returned 5 days at the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital (NRH). They brought 9 identical A-Dec dental chair/operating units (ideal units for the Pacific Islands) and other vital dental equipment in a Rotary DIK Container from Adelaide to activate a program started over two years ago. 

Stage one, just completed by this Rotary Project Volunteers team in April, installed and commissioned chairs in 3 surgeries and transported the other 6 chairs to other rooms in the building. In addition, training was given to the hospital BioMedical engineer in dental installation and maintenance procedures. Our donation of 9 dental chairs will be enough to set up a new, fully integrated dental hospital at the NRH. We now have the equipment available, on site, to do this. A future option is to extend the dental clinics into the whole building as other rooms currently used by the Diabetic department are planned to become vacant.

Stage 2 is planned for August. This will be to bring a RAWCS volunteer team from Australia to complete the installation of 5 dental chairs by equipping the surgeries, connecting all services, (power, suction, compressed air, water, and waste) building dental cabinetry(sent by DIK to coincide with the visit)  and to construct a Sterilizing Room. Then the NRH will have a fully operating dental facility and an exciting new future for Oral Health delivery in the Solomons.

I am confident when completed this will be one of the best equipped buildings in the whole hospital but to complete this project, we estimate we need to raise a further $30,000 

 This project will create a new administrative and treatment centre for Oral Health in the Solomon Islands and result in a tripling the public dental facilities in Honiara.