Eleven young Solomon Islands doctors graduated today (26 November) from the Bridging Internship Program in a special ceremony held at Honiara’s National Referral Hospital (NRH). The program ensures that medical graduates who have returned from overseas study are properly prepared before they commence formal medical intern training.
The Bridging Internship Program, run by the Solomon Islands Medical Partnership for Learning, Education and Research (SIMPLER), is funded by the Australian Government and implemented through a partnership between the Australian Volunteers Program and NRH’s Medical Training Committee. Australian volunteer medical specialists work alongside NRH medical specialists to supervise and train graduates, ensuring they develop the necessary knowledge and clinical experience to progress through their future internship program. The volunteers also provide continued medical education opportunities and support throughout the graduates’ careers.
The aim of the program is to further support the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) as it strengthens the roll-out of the medical workforce to rural and remote locations, as well as building more effective and efficient health systems in line with the Solomon Islands’ National Role Delineation Policy.
Chairman of the Medical Training Committee, Dr Rooney Jagilly, thanked Australia for its contribution to the program.
“This Bridging Internship Program is an excellent model of clinical learning experience. With the support from Australian volunteer doctors, the program is designed to provide practical, hands on experience,” said Dr Jagilly.
“We are very grateful for the support from the Australian Government and the Australian Volunteers for this medical training program over the past five years.”
Australian High Commission First Secretary Health, Fiona Mulhearn congratulated the interns at their graduation.
“Well done to all graduates who have worked incredibly hard to complete the Bridging Internship Program,” said Ms Mulhearn.
“I want to acknowledge the efforts of the Medical Training Committee and the doctors of NRH. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges. The doctors who provided guidance and training to these interns this year, when resources were stretched so thin, is a reflection of the shared dedication, and shared achievement of the graduates we celebrate today.”
Dr Jane Barker, Clinical Educator for the intern program, has provided online lectures and learning materials since early 2020 when she returned to Australia and been unable to travel to Solomon Islands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Barker joined the graduation ceremony via videoconference to congratulate the bridging interns.
“We are very proud of the 2020 interns who are graduating,” said Dr Jane Barker.
“We have eleven new doctors who have shown great resilience this year. They will be the compassionate and competent doctors that Solomon Islands needs.”