Dr Andrew Soma, Solomon Islands

The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia congratulates Dr Andrew Soma of the National Referral Hospital (NRH), Honiara, Solomon Islands on his graduation with a Master of Cancer Sciences from the University of Melbourne.

Dr Soma has been working as an oncology registrar in the NRH Oncology Unit which was initially established in 2018 with the assistance of a DFAT Funded mission led by Professor Desmond Yip from The Canberra Hospital and Australian National University. The course fees were generously funded by a scholarship from the John James Foundation.

Dr Soma was supervised in the course by Fleur Webster from the University of Melbourne, and mentorship by Professor Matthew Links from Bond University and Professor Yip was provided both during in-country visits to the Unit and also in Australia during an observership visit. Ms Beth Hua Pharmacist, Australian Government Department of Health and Ms Kate Reed, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner also provided valuable additional guidance during his studies.

This has been a remarkable achievement through the challenges of pandemic, earthquakes, civil disturbance compounded by repeated power and internet outages, whilst continuing to work full time for the most part as the sole doctor in the Unit.

The degree is a prerequisite to specialist recognition in the Solomon Islands. The multidisciplinary and multi-institutional collaboration of Australian health professionals demonstrates what can be achieved in assisting our Pacific neighbours develop their cancer services.

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Desmond Yip

Global Oncology Group Chair