Your guide to health insurance in the Solomon Islands
Located in the South Pacific, Solomon Islands is an archipelago country comprising nearly 1,000 tropical islands within a total land mass of 28,400 square kilometers and a population of over half a million people. Despite sporadic periods of political instability, the Solomon Islands now boast one of the region’s more stable economies, with revenues from gold mining, logging, and timber exports providing a large percentage of the country’s income.
Those moving or traveling to the Solomon Islands will undoubtedly have many questions regarding how the local healthcare system works, the development of healthcare, and whether private health insurance is necessary. The short guide below provides useful information about healthcare and insurance, as well as health insurance options for expats in the Solomon Islands. Read on to learn more, or click the button below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
Healthcare system in the Solomon Islands
Formerly part of the British Empire, the Solomon Islands achieved independence in 1978, followed by severe internal conflicts during the 1990s that brought the country to a virtual standstill on a number of occasions. The situation has now stabilized and the government is dedicated to working with international bodies to improve access to quality healthcare and management of health services. The standard of public healthcare is still below that expected in larger and more developed nations, with only 12 hospitals and 340 healthcare clinics over 900 islands.
The Solomon Islands healthcare system is administered by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), which serves as the funder, regulator, and provider of nearly all services, with the private sector playing a very minimal role. According to the Ministry’s National Health Strategic Plan published for the period 2016 – 2020, the government has highlighted a number of key areas, namely improving service coverage, building strong relationships, improving service quality, and laying the foundation for the future. Some of the most important long-term goals of the government include achieving universal health coverage, controlling the spread of communicable diseases, doubling the number of doctors, and improving maternal health.
In addition to public health care services, there are private hospitals in Western province, Malaita province, and Choiseul province. Non-nationals, tourists, and other short term visitors are required to pay out-of-pocket for all medical treatment and healthcare services, both public and private.
Medical facilities on the Solomon Islands are basic and limited, with no medical services or pharmacies outside of the major population areas. The largest and most modern public hospital is the National Referral Hospital in the capital Honiara. However, in common with other medical facilities on the Solomon Islands, the hospital suffers from a regular shortage of basic medicines.
Furthermore, the Solomon Islands lack an adequate supply of properly trained healthcare workers, specifically doctors and nurses, with only two fully trained doctors for every 10,000 people in the country.
Solomon Islands travel advice
While medical facilities in the Solomon Islands are capable of treating routine illnesses, serious medical problems that cannot be treated locally require air-evacuation to Australia. Hence, all visitors are advised to seek medical advice before traveling and should purchase a comprehensive international health insurance policy with an emergency evacuation benefit.
Prior to arriving in the Solomon Islands, it is also advisable that all expatriates and travelers intending on visiting the country seek vaccination advice relevant to the region and ensure all previous vaccinations are up-to-date prior to departure.
They should also bring a basic medical kit with antibiotics and anti-diarrheal medicines. It is because traveler’s diarrhea is the most common illness affecting visitors to the Solomon Islands, as well as a number of foodborne, waterborne, and other infectious diseases, including hepatitis, tuberculosis, and filariasis.
Malaria is prevalent throughout the year, and cases of dengue fever have been known to materialize sporadically. Standard precautions against malaria and dengue fever should be used, such as wearing trousers and long sleeve shirts and using a reliable insect repellent at all times.
While the overall crime levels are low in the Solomon Islands, petty crime and theft are an everyday occurrence. Visitors are advised to remain vigilant when visiting markets and other areas frequented by tourists, as handbag and mobile phone theft is common. Tourists seeking to visit rural parts of the Solomon Islands are advised to travel with groups or guided tours, as opposed to traveling individually. Measures should be adopted in case of emergency and the main emergency contact number is 999. It should be noted that the Solomon Islands emergency services operate under limited resources and response times to call for assistance are widely known to be slow and unreliable.
Finally, given that the country is situated along the Ring of Fire, the area is especially vulnerable to horrific natural disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes, heavy rains, and floods, which often sends droves of people to hospitals.
Private health insurance for expats in Solomon
Travelers to the Solomon Islands must ensure they are sufficiently covered for all possible medical circumstances, including those where air ambulance or medical evacuation may be required. Given that serious medical conditions and life threatening accidents can often not be treated within the country, Pacific Prime highly advises that all travelers or expatriates going to the Solomon Islands purchase a comprehensive expatriate medical insurance policy prior to arrival.
With extensive years of experience globally, Pacific Prime’s skilled teams worldwide can assist you with any health insurance needs in the Solomon Islands. We offer professional advice and free plan comparisons to our clients. No matter what your budget is or what your requirements are, our professional consultants can match you with a policy that best fits you or your group. Our policies can cover a wide range of services including dental, maternity, specialist consultation, transportation, inpatient services, and many more aspects. Please contact us today for a free Solomon Islands medical insurance quote.