Australian Volunteers International

Bridging Program Presentation

March 1, 2024

Volunteers help close the gap between theoretical knowledge and the reality of practising medicine

After 12 months of study through the Solomon Islands Medical Internship Bridging Program, 10 new graduates are ready to commence their Internship Program this year at Honiara’s National Referral Hospital (NRH)

Bridging Program Graduands

The Bridging Program provides medical, nursing and administrative volunteers to help close the gap between theoretical knowledge and the reality of practising medicine on the ground in the Solomon. The Bridging Program is supported by the Solomon Islands Medical Partnerships for Learning, Education and Research, a collaboration of senior local clinicians and volunteers, which AVI runs together with its flagship Australian Volunteers Program, and in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Ministry of Health & Medical Services – Solomon Islands, and the National Referral Hospital, Honiara.

Nine of the graduates began their journey in 2016 at medical school in Cuba, arriving home last year to complete an internship at the NRH to solidify their knowledge before beginning their careers working as much-needed medical officers in provincial hospitals and health clinics. With a ratio of around 2.4 doctors per 10,000 people and a highly disbursed population, the Solomon Islands is among the toughest places on Earth to be a doctor. Many new graduates find themselves dealing with highly complicated medical situations with minimal support so they need robust training to prepare them.

Graduate Ronnis Wale Nunufia said at the ceremony that graduation signified a lifelong vow to serve the people of Solomon Islands.

Also at the graduation ceremony was acting Australian High Commissioner, Andrew Schloeffel, who highlighted the importance that Australia places on its partnership with Solomon Islands in health and supporting Solomon Islands to achieve its vision for better health care for all citizens.

In its 10 years, more than one hundred students have graduated from the bridging program, taking their place alongside other generalists and specialists in the Solomon Islands.

AVI congratulates all this year’s graduands with special mention to Dr Babra Stacy Chuchuni who received the Most Outstanding Intern Award and a $500 cash prize and to Dr Andison Jeriel Soau’una received the Intern’s Choice Award, which included a Stethoscope and Blood Pressure Machine – both prizes donated by the team here at AVI.

Bridging Program Graduands