BY AGNES MENANOPO
THE number of medical doctors in Solomon Islands has increased over the years, according to National Referral Hospital (NRH) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Steve Aumanu.
“Now the country has 22 new graduates doing their bridging program, 15 (year 1 and 2) – Resident Medical Officers (RMO1 and RMO2), and 65 trainee doctors,” he revealed.
Solomon Islands now has a good number of medical doctors who graduated from medical universities and have been sent out to the provinces’ hospitals and other medical centers within the country.
Graduates with degrees in medicine from any university, often go back to their own countries, and must be registered by the country’s Medical Board as they have the jurisdiction under laws of parliament and they regulate the standard of practice of doctors in the country.
Dr. Aumanu clarified that normally medical students graduated from universities, after coming back from their studies, must undergo the internship program in order for them to practice and serve in the country.
“The medical training provided by the NRH Medical Training Committee is a – three years program – and is mandated by the medical and dental board in order to meet the registration requirements and for them to practice medicine as doctors in Solomon Islands.
“Usually the first year, they do the bridging program and this is mainly for foreign trained medical graduates-meaning from Cuba, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Morocco and others.
“The ones who graduated from Fiji School of Medicine (FNU) and the University of PNG don’t go through the one year bridging program. They go straight to RMO1 and RMO2,” he said.
He said specialists or specific department heads at the hospital normally does training supervisions.
“They go through a rotation in every department for that period of time and all the specialists and the registrars, even the nursing staffs, all help to supervise the training.
“Once they have completed every departments’ rotations, they then are assessed whether they are suitable to go through the RMO1 and RMO2.
“The bridging program is fairly organized and supervised in terms of content and when the graduates come out, they are able to satisfy the requirements and outcome of this training program, and they will be presented with certificates after they complete the internship and the medical board can then register them to practice fully and safely in the country.
Meanwhile, Dr. Aumanu said this program is very important as part of the workforce plan for the country.
“It’s only and recently that we have a lot more graduates and many more students have been sent to medicine studies, and they all come back and must through this training.
“When this program started in 2016, there were many returning graduates and the training was started and at that time, there were 22 and these ones had successfully passed their trainings and have been posted out to the provinces.
“This has been a beautiful thing and a great achievement for the country. Many doctors have been posted out last year and of course there will be another group of them that will be posted out to the province this year as well.
“It’s really helping the delivery of services for our people, especially in the rural areas in the provinces. Of course there are some of them remaining back in the capital (NRH) but the good number of them are posted out in the provinces’ hospitals and other rural medical centers,” Dr. Aumanu said.