The Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is a beautiful country made up of 6 main islands and 900 smaller islands, which span over 28,400 square kilometres. Approximately 650,000 people call the Solomon Islands home, a majority living in rural villages. The sheer remoteness of the islands and the large volume of people living away from major centres makes health service provision in the Solomon Islands very challenging.

Motivation Australia’s (MA) engagement with the Solomon Islands first began in 2009, at the request of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Rehabilitation Division, to explore the potential for strengthening wheelchair services. The MHMS and MA then worked together to develop a wheelchair services pilot, the first pilot MA was ever involved with in the Pacific and a pioneering step in MA’s involvement in the Pacific.

Additionally, in 2009, MA and People with Disabilities Solomon Islands (PWDSI) trialled the first use of the Worldmade rough terrain and Worldmade four wheel wheelchairs. Thanks to the leadership shown by PWDSI these wheelchairs are now commonplace throughout the Pacific.

Currently MA is working with the Solomon Islands MHMS on the Pacific Wayfinders and Pacific Leaders projects, aiming to strengthen wheelchair service provision and diabetic foot care in the Solomon Islands and empowering local services through tailored training and mentoring.

Disability related statistics and information:
• The 2009 Solomon Islands National Population and Housing Census reported that 14 percent of the total population were living with a disability in the Solomon Islands.
• In 2008, 41% of years of life lost in the Solomon Islands were attributed to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This figure is growing, with an increase in the number of NCDs in the Solomon Islands creating a double disease burden when combined with the already high prevalence of communicable diseases (WHO, 2012).
• ‘Almost half of all health expenditure in the Solomon Islands comes from donors. But much of that funding has targeted specific diseases, rather than strengthening the country’s health system and improving overall services.’ (WHO, 2017)
• In September 2008 the Solomon Islands became a signatory of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), although not yet ratified, the People with Disabilities in Solomon Islands organisation are helping work towards ratification as well as advocation for the rights of people living with a disability.

Terrific teamwork for Training of Trainers course in Fiji

Daniel and Lauren were in Suva, Fiji for part one of the Training of Trainers (ToT) course from the 25th to 29th of November. The ToT course assembles participants from Fiji (4 participants), the Solomon Islands (2) and Vanuatu (3)…
Two trainees in PNG learn their training material!

Training the trainers: Pacific leaders project

Building a skilled and knowledgable workforce is essential to increasing access to appropriate, local wheelchair services in the Pacific Region. Over the past 10 years, much of that training has been completed by international organisations, such as Motivation Australia, through a…
Conference delegates listening to a presenter off screen. In the fore ground are two women in colourful dresses.

Rehabilitation and Mobility Conference

Celebrating the Conference Theme: ‘Pacific Leaders creating Sustainable Services’, delegates from nine countries in the Pacific region, inclusive of those who use, provide and manage services worked together to share ideas, discuss and learn about how to build inclusive rehabilitation…

Wheelchair training: Fiji, PNG and the Solomon Islands

Motivation Australia, together with the Latter day Saint Charities (LDSC) have recently delivered wheelchair refresher training in three countries throughout the Pacific from September to November. Motivation Australia’s Katrina McGrath joined Chris Christensen a technical trainer from LDSC to co-deliver…
A happy young girl in a wheelchair

Wheelchair training in The Solomon Islands

From 26th January – 14th February 2017 Ray Mines and Lauren Flaherty were in Honiara (The Solomon Islands) delivering the Intermediate level, WHO Wheelchair Service Training (WSTP-I) for fourteen trainees from three countries. The young girl pictured above was one of 16 people (8…
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Solomon Islands: Access to Mobility

The Solomon Islands are situated North East of Australia and made up of nearly 1,000 islands spread across thousands of kilometres of Ocean. The UN ranks the Solomon Islands on its list of Least Developed Nations. There are approximately 5,000 people who need a wheelchair in the Solomon Islands, most living in rural areas with limited access to roads. The remoteness and isolation of each island community makes the establishment of rehabilitation services for people with a disability very challenging.

In 2009 Motivation Australia established a pilot wheelchair service in the capital Honiara. In 2010 Motivation Australia launched the Access to Mobility programme, building on our successful partnership with the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Unit of the National Rehabilitation Hospital to extend wheelchair services to five provinces. Our partners would also like to increase the focus on gender equity and explore the reasons why more men have been able to access the pilot service than women.

 

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Collaborating for Success: Wheelchairs for Kids

For two weeks in November Motivation Australia’s Lauren Houpapa (Occupational Therapist) and Ray Mines (Wheelchair & Seating Designer) worked with national staff of the Solomons Islands CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation) unit in Honiara to trial the new Wheelchairs For Kids wheelchairs.

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Peer Group Training in the Solomon Islands

Motivation Australia and the National Community Based Rehabilitation Unit held the first Peer Group Training (PGT) residential course in the Solomon Islands in June this year.

PGT involves wheelchair users training others with a similar disability in skills and knowledge that enable them to carry out everyday activities and achieve an improved quality of life. Read more about Peer Group Training.