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Leadership Mentor (volunteer role). National Referral Hospital, Solomon Islands

Leadership Mentor.

Volunteer role, National Referral Hospital, Solomon Islands





Provide the Chief Executive Officer of the National Referral Hospital and his team with leadership support / mentoring / training, through a partnership relationship, including in-country visits, remote connection, and through reciprocal visits.

Volunteer model

Commencing with an initial placement in Honiara by the successful ACHSM volunteer (eg 2-4 weeks), work with NRH CEO and the Executive Team to scope out support needs and possibilities; begin to understand cultural and organisational dynamics; potentially visit regional hospitals to understand the infrastructure and geographical challenges; make contacts within the Ministry of Health & Medical Services.

Depending on the duration and outcome of initial in-country visit:

  • Volunteer continues to provide leadership development support remotely to individuals / larger groups
  • Volunteer makes follow-up short visits to NRH to provide face-to-face leadership support/training/education, perhaps every six months (NB: AVI can only fund airfares for the initial in-country placement)
  • ACHSM ‘adopts’ this relationship with NRH; makes it an annual placement/role/opportunity for an ACHSM fellow/nominee ie. someone makes a visit and then provides ongoing remote follow up support over the year.
  • If possible, ACHSM supports/arranges/hosts reciprocal visits by NRH executive members to Australia for: ACHSM Congress; shadow roles with counterparts, site visits etc

AVI volunteer support (allowance and housing):  AVI volunteers gets a monthly allowance that covers basic accommodation (usually part of shared housing) and living expenses. This amount was increased before COVID because of high accommodation costs as Honiara is an expensive place. There are international hotels and furnished apartments for rent.

General comments

  • All volunteer roles are designed collaboratively with the partner organisation (ie NRH) and with the best of intentions; often the actual role changes (considerably) once the volunteer commences in country. Flexibility is essential.
  • All volunteer roles in the Solomon Islands require approval of the Australian High Commission in Honiara.
  • AVI has non-financial partnership arrangements with a number of medical colleges and some charitable organisations (eg. John James Foundation).

Information about NRH

Organisational structure:

NB: NRH is a division of the Ministry of Health


Committee structure

  • Hospital Executive
  • Medical Training Committee


A patchwork of ageing and new buildings, funded by a patchwork of aid organisations (Taiwan, PRC, WHO, Unicef, etc). Finding an office space with a computer and working a/c is not always assured - though a new admin building opened recently. Many expats take up residence in one of the cafes around town which is good for a/c and coffee but less ideal for seeing what’s going on. A blend works well.

NRH has no centralised IT/data system. It does have internet for its computers but there is no patient information management system (CEO is keen to get one …). therefore, one cannot presume there will be data to help guide activities.

Travel to Solomons

Honiara is 2.5-hour flight from Brisbane.

Solomons closed its borders at the start of the pandemic and largely avoided any COVID until January 2022 when it had a significant outbreak (but low mortality). It seems the borders will reopen in July this year, and the presumption is no quarantine will be required.

Other information

AVI has an office in Honiara that supports in-country volunteers. Usually, there are 30-40 AVI volunteers in country (ie. it’s the second biggest country program after Indonesia).

AVI has been supporting a medical education program - knows as SIMPLER - in NRH since 2015. Further information can be gained from a contact who spent 18 months as a volunteer in the NRH, as the intern training program coordinator.



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