Solomon Islands consists of more than 900 coral atolls in the south-west Pacific Ocean with a population of just over 600,000 people. Its total land area is widely scattered over 1.3 million square kilometres of the Pacific, with most of its smaller islands uninhabited. The Global Trachoma Mapping Project indicated relatively low rates of trichiasis, despite the high rates of trachoma infection.
What we’re doing about it
Solomon Islands’ existing health system is able to address the number of trichiasis surgeries required. Instead our focus is on prevention, through a Trachoma Action Plan and supported by a National Trachoma Taskforce.The SAFE strategy will be regionally coordinated with other countries in the Pacific (Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati), with the principal aims of distributing antibiotics and persuading the many water and sanitation NGOs to include face washing in their campaigns.
Progress so far
The country has a National Public Eye Health Coordinator supported by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, who leads the National Trachoma Program. Two planning sessions have been held. Trained ophthalmic nurses in each of the nine provinces provide trachoma case management and referrals to the National Referral Hospital in the capital Honiara, staffed with ophthalmologists. One complete round of antibiotic distribution took place in late 2014 and early 2015.