About Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in the Melanesia subregion of Oceania in the Western Pacific Ocean. It comprises six major islands and over 900 smaller islands largely located to the east of Papua New Guinea. Honiara, the capital, is situated on Guadalcanal, the largest island, and its bustling central market showcases the islands’ produce and traditional handicrafts. The other principal urban centers include Gizo, Auki, and Kirakira. The population is young: 53 percent of Solomon Islands’ 690,598 people are under 24. There are over 80 spoken local languages and dialects in Solomon Islands, with English designated as the official language and Melanesian pidgin as the lingua franca. Solomon Islanders are predominantly Christians of various denominations, with about 5 percent of the population maintaining traditional beliefs.

Solomon Islands gained self-government in 1976, and two years later attained independence. Having endured a five-year ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal, spanning 1999 to 2003, coupled with frequent natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes, the country has faced serious economic, political, and environmental challenges. While efforts are being made to improve economic conditions, the situation remains unstable. Over 75 percent of Solomon Islanders work in agriculture and engage in subsistence farming and fishing. The nation, however, is rich in underdeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold.

There are only two fully trained doctors for every 10,000 people in Solomon Islands, and a lack of other properly trained healthcare workers, including nurses. Non-communicable diseases account for 60 percent of total deaths, while communicable diseases are responsible for about 35 percent of deaths. The most common diseases that contribute most substantially to mortality are ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections, diabetes, diarrheal diseases, COPD, road injuries, breast cancer, self-harm, cirrhosis, neonatal disorders, and malaria.

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