Article submitted by PDG Merv Williams - Rotary Club of Mt Martha
A Rotary Australia World Community Service volunteer dental team from Australia has installed equipment and furnishings for 7 modern new dental surgeries and a Sterilizing Room, to establish a National Oral Health Centre for the Solomon Islands.
The building with seven empty rooms in 2017
In October and November 2019, on a three week visit to Honiara, a volunteer RAWCS team professionally converted this building to an independent Dental Hospital within the Honiara National Referral Hospital (“No.9”).  A modern new National Dental Hospital for the Solomon Islands.
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 Rotary Club Mt Martha,
  • Jack and Marie Knight from R.C. Horsham,
  • John Macdonald PHF R.C. Ballarat West,
  • Garry Brooker R.C. Ballarat West
This Rotary project heralds a new era for Oral Health in the Solomon Islands.  It more than doubles the public dental facilities in Honiara, will serve as an education and training centre, and be the base from which dental service provision will be directed to the Provinces into the future.
The original dental clinic at the National Referral Hospital closed in 2012 and was not replaced. Since then the public dental services in Honiara have consisted of just 4 dental chairs at Mataniko HCC Dental Clinic(2 not working), a dental caravan at NRH ,and one Oral Surgery room at NRH, to service Honiara’s public dental service, a city with a population similar to that of Ballarat
Nine dental chairs were procured, as well as high and low speed hand pieces and ultrasonic cleaning devices from the Adelaide Dental Hospital.  These were shipped to Honiara by Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) Donations in Kind (DIK). This was a unique opportunity to obtain 9 similar models, which will greatly simplify future repairs and maintenance. The Rotary Club of Berwick provided the transportation funding.
Surgery Design was completed and almost two tonnes of custom-made dental cabinetry flat packs were manufactured and shipped in a 40 foot container from DIK in Melbourne. The container held dental and medical supplies, including 27 hospital beds and 25 wheelchairs. The medical items were distributed directly to the staff and wards of the Honiara National Referral Hospital.
The Rotary work involved stripping, cleaning and painting all the walls, plumbing and functionally connecting 7 dental chairs and building and equipping a new Sterilizing Room. Assembling the custom-designed modern dental cabinetry hand basin pedestals, all with varnished Bamboo tops, was not simple work. It demanded a high degree of skill and adaptability in a hot tropical climate and using unfamiliar materials. It is a huge tribute to the team members, who had not met one another before, how they developed into a skilled workforce and achieved such a successful outcome in just two weeks.
On occasions, the team had to call on all their considerable experience to adapt different fittings from multiple hardware stores to achieve the desired result. (there’s no Bunnings in Honiara!) 
Financial support for the project came from the Rotary Clubs of;
  • Berwick $13,000 plus DIK Adelaide container transport
  • Ballarat West $10,000
  • Honiara
  • Mt Martha, $3000
  • Torquay $5000
  •  Metrology Ballarat $10,000
  •  The International College of Dentistry $5000
  • The Academy of Dentistry International $3000
  • Rotary Foundation District 9780 Grant $3000
It is expected that the new dental surgeries will be operational and able to begin seeing patients from late November 2019. This was all funded by Rotary and built by Rotary Australia World Community Service volunteers.      
Rotary – “Making a Difference”.