Questions and Answers




General questions
Questions about working in Solomon Islands Questions regarding project financing (answers from October 2000)


Can I work as a doctor in Solomon Islands?
Yes, look here for details.

Can I bring along something useful for the hospital?
Yes, here is a list.


Communication problems

I have sent a letter and I am still waiting for an answer. Why does it take so long?
It is possible the letter has not yet reached the addressee. Mail is received about twice a month. There is no mail delivery. The ministry picks up the mail at the General Post Office if they have time and gasoline for the truck, then the mail is sorted and stored in the ministry until somebody at the hospital has time to pick it up.
Ok, but where is the problem with telephone, fax and email?
- power outage
- broken line (cyclone or other reason)
- phone bill was not paid by government
- fax not turned on
- no fax paper (or no money to buy it)
- fax or PC defective and no spare parts or no money for repair
- PC infected with computer virus
Finally the addressee may be on the move or in a provincial hospital, and therefore out of reach.



Solomon Dollar (SBD) 1$ = 100cents
Exchange rate on 06.12.2006: 1 SBD = 0.14 USD
For current exchange rates see our Travel Information links.
More information about money matters can be found on the following page
Working in a hospital in Solomon Islands, General Information


Project financing

Does the SI Government pay for the local personnel and the normal infrastructure of the health system?
Yes, if money is available. (Health services are free for everybody.) At the end of July 2000 there were debts of about SBD 5 million (almost CHF 2 million) for medicines and supplies. As a matter of fact the suppliers in Australia and New Zealand stopped shipping further orders. Eventually, the governments of those two countries stepped in with about AUD 250,000 to guarantee the supply for a few months.
In fall 2000 the SI Government had to dismiss 1,000 public servants because it could not pay them. Within the health sector only those were dismissed who no longer showed up at work because of the tensions.
How are donated funds used and what are the approximate yearly costs for medical supplies and the training of local personnel?
Donated funds are used as follows (see also current projects):
  1. For the collection of redundant medical goods in Switzerland and transportation by sea freight container to Solomon Islands about twice a year. Sea freight container cost alone is about CHF 5,000. Add to this transportation costs in Switzerland.
  2. Purchasing medical supplies mostly for surgical treatment of bone fractures, operation of knee band ligatures, and arthroscopies costs about CHF 20,000 - 30,000.
  3. Purchasing training material (literature, CDs, IT supplies) for local doctors and nurses costs about CHF 5,000 a year.
  4. Further, donated funds are used to establish recognized "postgraduate teaching programs", to minimize the training time of doctors in foreign countries. Otherwise they will not come back after graduation. To be recognized by the universities in Papua New Guinea and Fiji, qualified trainers must be available locally. Priority is given to trauma and orthopedic surgery, which were completely missing before.
    The first local surgeon received his diploma from the Australian Orthopaedic Association in the year 2000. His training was fully financed by donated funds from Switzerland, and "only" cost about CHF 50,000, since he was paid during his training year in Australia. The next young surgeon should start his four-year training in 2001. The cost was estimated to be CHF 60,000 (money already available). An orthopedic technician is currently in Cambodia for a three year training in the making of prostheses. His training is fully financed by donations, too.
    Similar programs for internal medicine and gynecology are being prepared, but difficult to establish due to the current (fall 2000) instability. We also support the important Nurse Aid School in Munda with training material and if possible by financing teachers. About 20 Nurse Aids (who provide basic health services in ambulatories) a year are trained at this location. We have evaluated a second, newer Nurse Aid School in Malaita, which should be supported as well.

Does the Swiss Government support the project?
No, no European health project donates money for Solomon Islands' health services. So the project is fully dependent on private donations.



Can I work as a nurse in Solomon Islands?
Look here for more details.



Can I do an elective in Solomon Islands?
Yes, look here for details.

Can I bring along something useful for the hospital?
Yes, here is a list.



What is the timezone of Solomon Islands?
GMT +11 hours, no daylight saving time.


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