Reorienting health services through community health promotion in Kwaio, Solomon Islands

Promot Educ. 2007;14(2):78-9. doi: 10.1177/10253823070140021701.


When ethnic minorities adhere to cultural practices which mark them as unique, structural impediments within health services can deny access and significantly add to the burden of disease. This is particularly pertinent if the development of health services is not done in partnership with all population groups in the area. This is the case at Atoifi Hospital, which structure prevents certain Kwaio people (Solomon Islands) from receiving benefits of hospital services and maintaining cultural beliefs at the same time. A Participatory Action Research process was used to collaboratively work with health service providers and community groups to review the situation, design and build a health facility with both medically and culturally appropriate policies and procedures. The Participatory Action Research process of collectively looking, thinking, planning and acting towards reorienting health services to become more culturally appropriate at Atoifi was the first time leaders, from both the community and hospital, had collectively sat together in a mutually respectful way to discuss community health promotion initiatives. The project was complete in 2006 with collaboration and dialogue between both groups proving vital to its success. Numerous indicators are present that the culturally appropriate health facility is making a difference, not only in terms of the hospital usage by all, but also for the feeling of "community ownership."

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Melanesia
  • Minority Groups
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Program Evaluation*