March 17, 2021

Solomon Islands medical education program gains new name

SIMPLER set to achieve a range of exciting new offerings and capacity development goals.

Previously known as Solomon Islands Graduate Intern Supervision and Support Project (SIGISSP), Solomon Islands’ leading medical education program has recently changed its name to Solomon Islands Medical Partnerships for Learning, Education and Research (SIMPLER), reflecting a range of exciting new offerings and capacity development goals.

The Solomon Islands medical education program was started in 2015 in response to a request from the Medical Training Committee of the National Referral Hospital. Overseas trained medical graduates returning to Solomon Islands needed to be upskilled to meet the requirements of the registration board and increase their capacity to work effectively and independently in both urban and rural health facilities. However, there was a severe shortage of doctors in Solomon Island, meaning they could not meet the country’s supervisory needs.

Through SIMPLER, Australian Medical Professionals are sent to Solomon Islands to work side by side with local colleagues, helping supervise and train large numbers of foreign-trained medical graduates returning to Solomon Islands.

To date, 46 experts have been involved in the program, as clinicians, medical educators and administrators. The Intern Training Program, including a 10-month bridging course and a two-year intern training course, is now well-established and will be ongoing until there is no further need. Since 2015, more than 90 interns have graduated from the program.

In recent years, it became clear the program needed to expand to include post registration medical education, increasing career pathways for these graduates. There is now an established training program for doctors undertaking the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) Diploma of Emergency Medicine and a program is currently being developed for a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Medicine. It is anticipated that further training and research programs will be developed in the future for this fantastic partnership.

SIMPLER is a collaboration between AVI, the Australian Volunteers Program, the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Ministry of Health & Medical Services – Solomon Islands and the National Referral Hospital, Honiara.