New dental facility here - Solomon Star News

New dental facility here

27 November 2019

A ROTARY volunteer dental team from Australia has installed equipment and furnishings for seven modern new dental surgeries and a sterilizing room, to establish a National Oral Health centre for the Solomon Islands. 

In 2017 the National Referral Hospital in Honiara offered Rotary part of a building they intended to use as a dental clinic but lacked the funds and expertise themselves to build it. 

In October and November 2019 on a three-week visit to Honiara a volunteer Rotary team professionally converted this building to an independent Dental Hospital within the Honiara National Referral Hospital 

This is a registered RAWCS Project (*29/2018-19) with Berwick, Ballarat West and Honiara Rotary Clubs. 

The work involved:

  • Specialist surgery design 
  • Procurement and transportation of 9 A-dec dental chairs, compressor, suction motors and ancillary equipment such as high and low speed handpieces, ultrasonic scalers, curing lights etc. 
  • Fabrication of custom designed dental cabinetry and sinks for 6 surgeries 
  • Painting all rooms and varnishing the bamboo worktops 
  • Connecting the service installations including plumbing, power, water, waste, central suction and oil-free compressed air connections to 7 dental chairs and cabinetry 
  • constructing and equipping a new sterilizing room and providing 3 autoclaves 

According to a statement from Honiara Rotary Club, the surgeries were fully funded by Rotary, and built by Rotary Australia World Community Service volunteers. 

The team consisted of: 

  • Dr David Goldsmith, Dentist, Rotary Club of Ballarat West (Team Leader) 
  • Peter Copp PHF R.C.Ballarat West,+ Mary Copp specialist dental equipment engineers (technical lead) 
  • Merv and Christine Williams from R.C. Mt Martha, 
  • Jack and Marie Knight from R.C. Horsham, 
  • John Macdonald PHF R.C. Ballarat West, 
  • Garry Brooker R.C. Ballarat West 

This new dental facility heralds a new era for Oral Health in the Solomon Islands. 

  • This more than doubles the public dental facilities in Honiara 
  • Will serve as an education and training centre 
  • Provides surgeries for specialty dental services 
  • A Dental “Home Base” from which Oral Health service provision can be directed to the whole Solomon Islands into the future. 

According to the statement, the original dental clinic at the National Referral Hospital closed in 2012 and was not replaced. 

“The public dental services in Honiara currently consist of just 4 dental chairs at Mataniko HCC Dental Clinic (two not working), a dental caravan at NRH ,and the Oral Surgery room at NRH, to service Honiara’s public dental service.

“In addition, many pain patients attend the Mataniko clinic, not just from Honiara, but from other islands and Provinces 

“There are 29 Solomon Island government employed dentists in Honiara, excluding those in the provinces. 

“Due to a shortage of working facilities, some patients in pain are being turned away.

“Many dentists are working only part time and in addition inactivity could lead to them losing their skills. 

“We obtained Nine A-dec dental chairs and equipped them with high and low speed handpieces and ultrasonic cleaning devices. 

“They were shipped to Honiara by Rotary and checked in March 2019. 

“One Ex-Army chair was shipped earlier from Rotary in Brisbane and used to initiate the Denture Clinic. 

“These American A-dec dental chairs are used throughout the world because they are reliable, easy to repair and maintain, and spare parts are available and relatively inexpensive.

“This was a unique opportunity to obtain 9 similar models which will greatly simplify future repairs and maintenance. 

“Large compressors and suction motors were provided by the Rotary Club of Ballarat West and shipped in 2018 along with other dental equipment 

“Surgery Design was done by Peter Copp and Dr David Goldsmith in conjunction with Acting Dental Director Dr Ellison Vane. 

“Custom-made dental cabinetry flat packs were manufactured to order in China and shipped to the National Referral Hospital in a 40-foot container from Melbourne. 

“The container held both dental and medical supplies, including 27 hospital beds and 25 wheelchairs. 

“The medical items were distributed directly to the staff and wards where they were needed by John Macdonald, an intensive care nurse with over 25 years’ experience in Pacific Island hospitals in Tonga and East Timor with St John of God Hospital. 

“John Macdonald was also able to inspect the facilities within the Honiara National Referral Hospital and take back valuable targeted recommendations for future Rotary medical shipments. 

“Overall technical direction came from specialist dental engineer Peter Copp.

“Valuable support was given to the team by the hospital carpenter Orban and BioMed Douglas. 

“The equipment involved in the project was provided by Rotary or purchased in Honiara – this included power tools, compressors, suction motors, 10 dental chairs, autoclaves, cabinetry including taps, porcelain and stainless sinks, plus slow and high speed handpieces, scalers and curing lights to all the chairs plus a large amount of dental prosthetic (teeth, acrylic etc.) and other dental supplies.”

The statement said the new rooms will be used to provide a range of services by dentists in the following dental specialist areas: 

  • Oral Surgery 
  • Dental Fillings and Root Canal 
  • Dental Prosthetics Clinic and Dental Laboratory (2 rooms) 
  • Periodontal (Gums) Care Dental Clinic 
  • Child Dental Care Clinic 
  • School and Community Dental Service 
  • Outpatients dental clinics 

A memorandum of Understanding has been established between the MOH and NRH to sustain the facilities.

“We expect the new dental surgeries will be operational and able to treat patients from late November 2019.” 

A further visit in 2020 is planned to install an additional identical surgery in a room currently occupied by the hospital’s Diabetic department. 

They will shortly be moving into a new building still under construction at the Hospital. 

“We already have the dental equipment and power tools needed to do this on site. 

“It is intended this would include dental specialists and nurses to share clinical dental work practices with staff, as well as follow up training in equipment maintenance.”