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Projects >  Solomon Islands

Overview

In 1992 the British Government was asked to fund the rehabilitation of clinics in Temotu and Makira Ulawa Provinces.  These provinces were two of the most distant and poorly resourced provinces in the country and both provinces had a high incidence of acute respiratory infections, fever, skin diseases and yaws.

​​The project aimed to renovate existing health facilities and build new nurse-aide posts, clinics and nurses' quarters, at 11 locations in Temotu Province and at 18 locations in Makira Ulawa Province. Water supplies were to be improved and pit-latrines and showers built.  The participation in the building process of the communities was to be encouraged to promote a sense of ownership and responsibility for the buildings.  

After a cyclone in 1993 additional clinics in Rennell and Bellona Province were added to the project to replace those destroyed by the cyclone.

​​I was appointed project manager in August 1992 and prepared designs and working drawings for the renovations and 2 MHMS staff houses, nurse-aide posts, clinics, staff quarters, latrines and shower units.  The buildings were designed to be cool and comfortable with storm-resistant timber louvres to both sides of all buildings to provide maximum amounts of cross-ventilation. 

The buildings were raised off the ground in order to avoid any site problems caused by uneven ground (there was no time to carry out site surveys). The structure and bracing (important for cyclone and earthquake resistance) were checked by a local structural engineer and schedules of materials were prepared by a firm of quantity surveyors.    

​​The construction work was carried out by locally recruited teams, supervised by two VSO construction supervisors.  3 types of clinics were built: a 1-room Nurse-Aide Post; a 2-Room Clinic; a 3-Room Clinic; together with Registered Nurses' Houses.   Two types of pit-latrines were built: a VIP Latrine and a Pour-Flush Privy together with a Shower Unit. All buildings were provided with 1000 gallon rainwater storage tanks.

The buildings were designed to be cyclone and earthquake resistant.  They were constructed of timber components raised off the ground on galvanised steel posts set in concrete foundations. All connections were made with galvanised bolts; the timber bearers and structural window frames were bolted to the steel posts and the rafters were bolted to the window frames, to give continuity from roof to foundations.  Joists and purlins were fixed with cyclone straps.  The buildings were braced laterally with external timber braces and across their width with steel strapping within the walls.

The structural timber components were manufactured in the capital Honiara and all materials were shipped to the scattered island sites by barges hired from a logging company.  The VSOs and their teams had to travel by boat and canoe around the islands and we were very lucky that there were no accidents.

The main objectives of the project were achieved:  9No Nurse-Aide Posts, 5No 2-Room Clinics and 6No 3-Room Clinics were constructed and 9No existing clinics were renovated.   15No RN Houses were built and 6No existing houses were renovated.  Short-wave radios and canoes were also supplied to the health facilities.  More new buildings than originally planned for were constructed but the overall cost was kept within the budget.

I returned to the Solomon Islands in November 1998 to start the preparations for a possible 4 th World Bank Education Project. I was also to review the progress and problems of the 3 rd World Bank Education Project that was still underway. For details see Solomon Islands Education Project.

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