Kwainaa`isi Cultural Centre features in Inaugural Resource Management Report

By Tommy Esau, Research Worker

Kwainaa`isi Cultural Centre features on the front cover of the recently released Report of the 1st Solomon Islands Resources Management Symposium. Kwainaa`isi works to retain traditional knowledge and promote Kwaio culture and conservation in Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands.

Kwainaa`isi was represented at the 1st Solomon Islands Resource Management Symposium held in Honiara during October, 2017. The Symposium brought together more than 300 representatives from ministries, provincial governments, civil society organizations, women’s and youth groups, and communities from all over the country to share experiences on natural resource management. Over four days, more than 60 presentations were given.

Chief Esau Kekeubata, the Coordinator of Kwainaa`isi and Secretary, Mr Tommy Esau, presented during the Symposium about the amazing work they are doing on traditional knowledge preservation and conservation in the Kwaio mountains in Chief Kekeubata explained, “the aim of the Kwainaa’isi Cultural Centre project is to build research capacity among Kwaio people to document and preserve knowledge of local culture and history, and develop and strengthen approaches to conserving Malaita’s highland rainforests.”

Kwainaa`isi has demonstrated an impressive capacity among Kwaio people to document plants and animals on their tribal lands and strengthen conservation in their area, in partnership with leading scientists. Kwanaa`isi’s work was recognised when Chief Kekeubata and Mr Esau were presented with the “Conservation champions” Award, as documented in the Report.

The Symposium was organized by The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR)--in collaboration with Ecological Solutions Solomon Islands (ESSI), the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership (SICCP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and WorldFish.

You can read the proceedings of the 1st Solomon Islands Resources Management Symposium for free here:

Kwainaa’isi Cultural Centre is a key member of the Atoifi Health Research Group. The Cultural Centre centralise traditional knowledge that informs cultural approaches to health care and community-based research.

For more information, please contact Mr Tommy Esau:

Local water and sanitation solutions required in Pacific

For girl students, and students with a disability in the Pacific, attending school can be difficult. In part, this is because there is often a lack of adequate washing and toilet facilities. For girl students who are menstruating, they may not attend school if there are not adequate facilities or they may leave part way through the day. In some schools in the Pacific, there are no washing and toilet facilities for any students. The lack of facilities means some students do not get the education they deserve.

This was one finding from the recent review of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) literature that focused on girl students, and students with a disability in Pacific Island Countries and Territories. Written by Atoifi Health Research Group members, along with WASH and development specialists, the review shows that the sustainable WASH systems in Pacific schools need to focus on the end user, that is the students, in partnership with their teachers, families and communities.

The promising examples of successful WASH solutions in schools were solutions that used simple, locally available materials to respond to needs identified by the students themselves.

You can read the review for free here:

You can also listen to an interview about the review with Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren, conducted by ABC Radio’s Seini Taumoepeau from ABC Pacific Mornings: (WASH interview starts at 1hr 3 mins on time bar)

For more information about the review, please email Michelle Redman-MacLaren or Humpress Harrington

Health research training at Atoifi for Solomon Islands

Want to learn more about the Health Research training held at Atoifi from 21-25 May, 2018? Then watch this video, courtesy of the Atoifi Media team!

In the video, facilitators and Research Fellows discuss a health research training program adapted for Pacific island countries. Based on the WHO SORT-iT research capacity building program, this James Cook University-led training program was conducted in partnership with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services, and delivered at Atoifi Hospital in rural Malaita. The 20 Research Fellows were from Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

For more information, please contact Mr Humpress Harrington or Ms Freda Pitakaka

Point-of-care tests for syphilis and yaws in Solomon Islands: a new research article

Dr Michael Marks from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, along with colleagues from Atoifi Health Research Group, have evaluated the experience of healthcare workers and patients using a newly-developed point of care test for syphilis and yaws in the Solomon Islands.

Solomon Islands has the third most cases of yaws in the world each year, after Ghana and Papua New Guinea.

Dr Marks explains, "Syphilis and yaws are closely related bacterial infections. In many countries where the diseases are found there is limited access to diagnostic testing. Recently a point of care test for both diseases has been developed."

The point of care test was deployed in the outpatient and ante-natal departments of Atoifi Hospital and four rural health clinics in surrounding communities of East Kwaio. Researchers from the Atoifi Health Research Group then evaluated the experience of healthcare workers and patients in using the test.

Ms Rowena Asugeni, Director of Research at Atoifi Hospital, reported, "both healthcare workers and patients experienced the point of care test as a positive development."

The speed with which health care workers could provide the results was appreciated. One health care worker said, "last taem ia, bae mifala givim go lo lab afta wan wik na bifo mifala resivim resolt (before when we have the sample to the lab we had to wait a week to receive the result)."

Patients also reported that improving access to testing at the clinic level was beneficial due to the delays involved in travelling to hospitals for testing. One patient explained, "sendem go lo hospital o sendem go lo olketa nara place testim kam olketa blud ia ating bae hem lelebet slo to so ating hem gud na for okelta makem lo hia nomoa (being sent to a hospital or another place for blood tests is slow so it is good to be able to take it here)."

Longer term and larger evaluations of point of care testing are now required to assess the impact and cost-effectiveness of scaling up the use of the tests to help manage syphilis and yaws in Solomon Islands.

Findings have been published in the PLOS NTDs journal. You can read the article in full for FREE:

For more information, please contact: Dr Michael Marks michael.marks[at] or Ms Rowena Asugeni rowenaasugeni[at]