Dr Chris Miller with a new mother and her baby in the Solomon Islands
Dr Chris Miller with a new mother and her baby in the Solomon Islands Contributed

Medicos build Makira hospital

MURWILLUMBAH doctor Chris Miller and two of his colleagues are planning to build a hospital in the desperately poor island of Makira, part of the Solomon Islands.

When Dr Miller was director of the Health and Medical Services in the country's western Choisuel province, close to Bougainville, in 2003 and 2004 he didn't see most of the ethnic violence that was tearing the pacific nation apart.

He did, however, see a health system chronically underfunded.

"They really do a very good job with very little resources," Dr Miller said.

"The doctors and nurses there do a remarkable job of doing what they can with the money they've got."

When he returned a few years later with his wife to the island of Makira, he saw the condition of the local hospital that had been deprived of funding for years due to government corruption and ethnic strife.

It was so dilapidated that there is no use staffing it. Indeed, Honiara, with a population of 78,000, is forced to wash and re-use bandages.

It didn't take much to convince his colleagues, Dr John Moran and Dr Jonothan Stephens, to come on board.

"Due to the lack of facilities (at Makira hospital) most of the time nobody is there and the staff are either seconded elsewhere or are unable to work and just stay in the village," Dr Miller said.

"What we are trying to do is just put up a building where staff can perform their duties."

Construction is almost complete.

There are two estimated costs for the yet-to-be funded fit-out: $140,000 for the basic two fans in the maternity ward only, or $240,000 for a fan in every room.

The average daily temperature is 27 degrees.

The hospital is supported by Murwillumbah Rotary club and as a Rotary Australia project has the tax-deductable donation benefits of a Rotary Club of Australia World Community Service project.

Donations may be made by calling the fundraising coordinator on 0423 807 088



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