If you would like to volunteer your medical services, then the Solomon Islands may be the perfect place to do this.
The Solomon Islands are a member of the Commonwealth and one of our closest lesser developed neighbours, with the capital Honiara a direct 3 hour flight from Brisbane with Qantas or Flysolomons.
From Honiara Flysolomons offer direct flights to all of the nine provinces.
Why volunteer in the Solomon Islands?
The natural untouched beauty of the Solomon Islands is breathtaking, but so too is the poverty. The Solomon Islands’ per-capita GDP of $600 ranks it one of our most deserving lesser developed neighbours, with more than 75% of its labour force engaged in subsistence and fishing. The tropical temperatures, with heavy monsoonal rainfall make the islands abundantly rich and fertile for growing fruits and vegetables, while the oceans are teaming with fish. Very few in the Solomon Islands go without food.
However medical care is limited in the Solomon Islands, with the remoteness of the Islands making it difficult to deliver adequate care to all. The life expectancy in the Solomon Islands due to poor health care delivery is one of the lowest in the developing world.
Is a visa required?
You do not need a visa to visit the Solomon Islands if you are a Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the United States, or a citizen from most European countries.
However many countries require a visa prior to arriving in the Solomon Islands (see link below):
Citizens from these countries requiring a visa or any country not specifically listed on this “Visa Not Required” list are best to apply for a visa before travelling to the Solomon Islands.
Is registration required?
Any qualified doctor or nurse wanting to volunteer in the Solomon Islands must email a completed medical application form or nursing application form , necessary supporting documents & curriculum vitae to firstname.lastname@example.org for processing. For doctors this is then be emailed by DAISI staff to Mrs Francina Ega-Arifanata Email Mrs Francina Ega-Arifanata. To check on your application you can call +61 677 23601. For nurses, applications are then sent by DAISI staff to the Nursing Board registrar Mrs Sanneth Talo Email Mrs Sanneth Talo . To check on your application you can call +61 677 20830. Medical students need to email their curriculum vitae to email@example.com and organise a supervisor for their elective period. Most DAISI trips are 1-2 weeks, and DAISI doctors can be your supervisor during this time. If your volunteer elective is longer than this you will require a local hospital doctor as supervisor and letter of invitation from this doctor.
Is travel insurance recommended?
Yes, we recommend travel insurance should you have a mishap. Flights frequently cancel due to weather and other unforeseen events. Travel insurance is money well spent. If you purchase your ticket with a gold or platinum CBA credit card, then you will be covered shoild you get sick and need urgent retrieval back to Australia.
What is the cost involved ?
It is part of DAISI’s constitution that all money raised through donations goes directly to medical aid and does not pay for travel or accommodation for volunteers. Doctors volunteering their services in the Solomon Islands, do so at their own cost.
Volunteering in the Solomon Islands is an incredibly generous offer of your time and income. In general a return plane trip from Sydney or Auckland is not cheap costing around $1,600. Accommodation is generally not provided by the hospital, so will also needed to be organised by volunteers. DAISI is a registered tax-duductible charity, and expenses relating to humanitarian work may be tax exempt, so keep your receipts. DAISI volunteers are exempt from having to pay medical and nursing registration fees. Medical students do not require registration, but must have a qualified doctor to agree to supervise them.
How do I book my flights and accommodation?
You can book your flights and accommodation online independently, or if you prefer, use our reliable St Leonard’s Flight Centre travel agent Sally Mcilwaine who has a vast experience in dealing with the Solomon Islands, and can remove a lot of the stress associated with making your bookings. James can also give you specific advice about travel insurance and visa requirements.
What do I bring ?
Donated medical supplies are always appreciated by the hospitals you visit. Most recently expired medical supplies have a shelf life at least 6-12 months longer than that stated on the packaging. Prior to volunteering in the Solomon Islands, have a look at the complete register of items most urgently needed.
How do I apply for extra luggage allowance for Medical Equipment?
The only carrier that flies directly from Brisbane to Honiara and that allows extra baggage allowance for this trip fir medical reasons is Flysolomons. Flysolomons are very generous in allowing an extra 10-20kg per person checked in luggage if you send them a formal written letter requesting extra checked in baggage. You can also call the Flysolomons office located in Brisbane on +61 7 3860 5883 or 1300 894 311. Be careful, as if you buy your Brisbane to Honiara leg of your journey from Qantas, the actual carrier is Flysolomons, and you will not be able to claim extra baggage allowance for this international leg of the journey. However Qantas will issue extra baggage allowance for any domestic ticket where the actual carriers is a Qantas plane. Requests to Qantas for extra baggage are best made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Qantas can also be called on (02) 8222 2651.
Is formal briefing & debriefing offered ?
Yes, a formal briefing at the “Information Night” is recommended in the week prior to your departure to be held in the capital city with the most number of volunteers on the trip. Skype is recommended for those interstate who cannot attend in person.
It is the designated team leader’s responsibility to organise the information night as well as formal debriefing for all volunteers as a group at the end each trip. A summary of this debriefing will be sent to the DAISI secretary to allow dissemination to each of the DAISI office bearers. This intonation is valuable for allowing adjustments to improve future trips. It is usually the volunteer who didn’t go to the information night or formal debriefing who ends up with unrealistic expectations or being poorly prepared, and not reaching their full potential during the trip.