Taro Hospital

Last updated on 23.09.2013

Information provided by Dr Chris Millar, doctor and director of Taro Hospital.

Hospital: Taro Hospital (and Taro, capital of Choiseul Province) is located on a small island off Choiseul mainland and has access to an airport, Telekom, and Internet. It serves about 26,000 people and also drains approximately 3,000 patients from Shortland Islands and sometimes Bougainville (Papua New Guinea).

Aerial view of Taro Taro's Airport
Aerial view of Taro (circle denotes hospital location)
© 2004 Shane Turner
Choiseul Bay, Taro's Airport
© 2008 Matthew Govier
Taro's Village Hall Taro Market Doctor's House
Taro's Village Hall
© 2008 Matthew Govier
Taro Market
© 2008 Matthew Govier
The Doctor's House
© 2008 Matthew Govier
beach beach beach
View of hospital beach from Outpatients
© 2008 Matthew Govier
Hospital Beach
© 2008 Matthew Govier
The beach in front of the hospital
© 2004 C. Millar

In late 2003, transformation of the original area health centre into the provincial referral hospital for Choiseul Province was started. In August 2004, phase one of the conversion process was finished and it is now able to function as a hospital. It will be complete towards the beginning or middle of 2005 and will have 75 beds.

Facilities: (at the end of August 2004):

  • There is a 25 KVA generator that powers the hospital, and is envisaged to also power staff housing.
  • There is a lab, which has just been finished, and will be able to perform FBC (Full Blood Count), cross match and gram staining.
  • There is an x-ray facility and ultrasound, which has also just been completed.
  • There is an operating theatre (OT) which has an operating microscope, Boyle's anaesthetic machine, and diathermy unit.
  • The Tb ward was also just completed.
hospital building hospital buildings staff
OPD (Out-Patient Department), X-ray and lab
© 2004 C. Millar
From left: pediatrics ward (under construction), OT, maternal/child health and administration block
© 2004 C. Millar
Staff on 27.08.04 (click to enlarge) Background: Tb ward and OT.
© 2004 C. Millar
hospital buildings hospital buildings hospital buildings
(from left) Tb ward, OT, and pediatrics ward
© 2004 Joseph Arebonto
OT (left) and pediatrics ward
© 2004 Joseph Arebonto
1 OT, 2 pediatrics ward, 3 postnatal & delivery rooms, 4 male ward
© 2004 Joseph Arebonto
male ward male ward septic
The completed male ward
© 2005 Joseph Arebonto
Digging the septic tank for the male ward
© 2005 Joseph Arebonto
minor OT main OT children's ward
The Minor ops room for 'dirty' procedures
© 2008 Matthew Govier
The Main Theatre, saved for TLs
© 2008 Matthew Govier
The Children's Ward - Empty
© 2008 Matthew Govier
main corridor Outpatients, X-ray, Pharmacy, Malaria Screening staff
Main Hospital Corridor
© 2008 Matthew Govier
Outpatients, X-ray, Pharmacy and Malaria Screening block
© 2008 Matthew Govier
The current hospital staff
© 2008 Matthew Govier

Renovated OPD in September 2013

OPD building OPD building
New and old phase of OPD
© 2013 William Timba
East view of OPD
© 2013 William Timba
OPD building OPD building
West view of OPD
© 2013 William Timba
Close view of OPD
© 2013 William Timba
waiting area corridor A&E
Patient waiting area
© 2013 William Timba
Corridor inside OPD
© 2013 William Timba
A&E and OPD
© 2013 William Timba

Staff: The staff establishment consists of 2 doctors, a director and registrar, 31 nurses, and 27 other supporting staff.

Work for medical staff includes that within the referral hospital, as well as touring and primary healthcare around Choiseul.

map boat auditors
The Health Facilities in Choiseul Province
© 2008 Matthew Govier
Going to Nukiki Clinic
© 2008 Matthew Govier
Educational talk to the women's group in Kilufi
© 2008 Matthew Govier

Most frequent cases (via discipline):

  • Infectious diseases: malaria, pneumonia, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), Tb
  • Obstetrics: prolonged 2nd stage, retained placenta
  • Pediatrics: neonatal infections (chlamydia eye), neonatal sepsis
  • Surgery: Pyomyositis
  • Medicine: hypertension, asthma

Exchange program wanted:

On August 30, 2004, Dr. Millar wrote:

The nursing staff of Taro have expressed a keen interest in joining some sort of exchange programme, which they could become part of. They are interested in furthering their skills, and knowledge. Because of civil unrest in the Solomon Islands, continuing medical education for these nurses has been virtually non existent for many years. If anyone has any ideas on how such a programme could be started, and the logistics of running it, could they please contact us?

Students and Volunteers: Medical students (provided there is a doctor at the hospital, see "Updates" below), volunteer doctors and nurses, as well as auxiliary hospital staff, i.e. paramedical, are welcome.

The volunteer doctor cited below wrote: Students should be able to work without constant supervision, it is probably best if they come here near the end of their elective year.

A student wrote in July 2008: The hospital staff are keen to have students come to Taro, however, they do want students to know that it is a basic hospital and there is very little to do on the island itself (from my experience it's very much about making yourself part of the community and doing whatever they do, and not expecting too much). This was fantastic for myself as this insight into a community and medicine with "the bare minimums" was exactly what I wanted; but some people may not find it quite what they signed up for, when you don't have any electricity or the water starts to run out - and these people should go to Honiara or Gizo rather than Taro Hospital. You really experience what it is like to live as a Solomon Islander though, if you go to Taro.

Accommodation costs (in 2004) vary from SBD 50-200 per day.

Dr Millar will leave Taro in September 2004. A local doctor is expected to arrive in January 2005.


10.03.05 Taro Hospital is still without a doctor.

06.08.05 A doctor on tour writes:

Taro Hospital is still without a doctor. The Hospital management has tried all the best to get one.....It seems that this year it will not be possible for a doctor to come for posting.....for next year (2006), I hope the new registrars will be interested to come. The hospital is well set up for a doctor to use. I really admire this hospital with the setup of its OT.

12.10.05 Finally, Taro Hospital has a doctor again: Dr Chris Betcher from Guadalcanal.

31.10.07 After quite some time without a doctor, Taro Hospital has two doctors now: Choiseul Provincial Health Director Dr E. Henry Daiwo and medical officer Dr Lazarus De Neko.

A Swiss volunteer doctor, who spent three weeks on Choiseul in May/June 2004 wrote:

Choiseul was a great experience. First I spent some time in Taro and then went on a tour along the south coast of Choiseul. On the way from Taro to Wagina I visited every rural health center and had a look at the patients. It was quite a lot of work, all those villages had not seen a doctor for almost three years, but it was also very interesting. Outside Honiara and Gizo, therapeutic means are rather limited, not much is available, and following up cases is also not possible. Nevertheless, I hope I was able to help a little bit!

And she concludes: I can really recommend Taro, it is a nice place, albeit a bit remote...


Catholic Mission helps with new hospital, The Catholic Weekly of August 17, 2003.

28.10.03 Fundraising for Taro Hospital

17.08.04 RAMSI participants support Taro Hospital

Doctors on tour, a report by Franziska Holenstein