Media training for Medicinal Plants Project

By Tommy Esau, Researcher

Five members from Kwainaa`isi Cultural Centre and two other members from Aru`ilage group in West Kwaio have participated in a video editing training to enable the documenting of traditional medicinal plants. This workshop was run during May for the next phase of Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) funding. The first phase of CEPF funding resulted in the production of the first ever bilingual book (English/Kwaio), concerning the medicinal and cultural uses of 15 plants from the East Kwaio region. Small video clips were also made about the uses of these plants. The second phase will see the book and videos expanded in size and content, with the East Kwaio participants taking the lead in the production.

The training was conducted by Ben Speare (who ran a similar training during 2016) and included topics such as taking footage, camera positing and exposure. The training also covers technical aspects on video editing, software, organizing videos and writing subtitles. The training uses a learn-by-doing approach, where participants actually working on their own videos clips during the field work for the medicinal plants project. This involves organizing different video clips and arranging them to make a story and finally producing little video clips.

Participants have expressed that this is the first time they had a chance to handle a computer and were fortunate to be introduced to this editing program. Maasafi from Kwainaa`isi have said “the training is timely and is very significant for the medicinal plant project that we’re currently working on at the moment.” Fo`oori another member from Kwainaa`isi group also stated that “this training has changed the way I see and frame things. Now I know the different techniques I can use when I get footage next time. I am so happy that this training will be beneficial for our work at Kwainaa`isi.”

Chief Esau Kekeubata from Kwainaa`isi also commented, “this is good to see our group has gained this knowledge and skills; that means that we can now take the greater role in the production of the filming and editing for different works that we will be doing at the cultural Centre, instead of relying much on outsider and this is our aim.”

Gaining this knowledge and skills will be valuable for much of our up-coming work at the Kwainaa`isi Cultural Centre into the future. The work of documenting traditional knowledge about culture and medicine is one of the priority areas for Kwainaa`isi, and that young people are the drivers of this work is very promising. It is important to document these unique traditional knowledge as they are disappearing today. All participants are super excited to be involved and about the prospect of the project thus far. We look forward for this similar kind of training in the future.

For more information: Tommy Esau or David MacLaren

Atoifi researchers to facilitate research workshop in Fiji

Mr Humpress Harrington, Head of Atoifi Campus of Pacific Adventist University (PAU) and Atoifi Health Research Group (AHRG) researcher, will co-facilitate a community-based research workshop at the Creating Futures Conference in Suva, Fiji. Humpress is currently undertaking his PhD at James Cook University (JCU) where he is investigating relevant research capacity strengthening models for health research in the Pacific.

Humpress will join Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren (CQUniversity Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research and AHRG), Dr Narayan Gopalkrishnan (JCU) and Dr Anaseini Silatolu (Ministry of Health, Fiji) to facilitate an interactive research Workshop. The team will draw on the 'learn-by-doing' model of community-based research used in Solomon Islands.

Participants in the Workshop will explore how research can be mutually beneficial, as outlined in the paper published by AHRG members, "Mutual research capacity strengthening: a qualitative study of two-way partnerships in public health research". You can read this article for free here:

In addition to Humpress and Michelle's contribution, James Asugeni, Mental Health Nurse, AHRG member and Lecturer, PAU-Atoifi campus, has been invited to be a cultural adviser during the Creating Futures Conference.

For more information about Creating Futures 2017 to be held in September, please visit:

Using Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Yaws and Syphilis in remote clinics in East Malaita – what do health workers think?

Story by Tommy Esau, Research Worker

Last week the Atoifi Health Research Team visited four clinics in East Malaita to collect the data from Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for Syphilis and Yaws and to interview people about their experience in using RDTs in four clinics – Gounabusu, A`arei, Nafinua and Atoifi hospital in East Kwaio. The research team was led by James Asugeni, and included Hillary Toloka and Tommy Esau.

The purpose of the study was to access the acceptability, feasibility and cost effectiveness of using this test kit in the Solomon Islands. For two days the team visited the clinics to collect data and talk with the health workers and patients about the RDT test that has been trial during 2016 and 2017.

Most clinics visited described the RDTs for Yaws and Syphilis as being a very useful test for remote clinics where health facilities are limited. A health worker from Nafinua stated that “the test is cost- effective compared to what we have experienced before; where you have to wait for a long time, and usually takes a long process before result can be available. But this one as soon as you do the test result is available.” Another health worker from Namola`ela`e clinic also stated that the new test was good for patients and clinics and should be rolled out in other remote clinics in Solomon Islands.

For more information about this study, please contact Rowena Asugeni, Director of Research, Atoifi Adventist Hospital rowenaasugeni[at] or Dr Jason Diau, Chief Medical Officer at Atoifi Adventist Hospital jaseydiau[at]

Photo: Hillary Toloka (L) and James Asugeni (R) meet with Susan, Nurse, Gounabusu clinic

Starting them young! Enthusiastic kids help with mosquito survey at Atoifi

Enthusiastic children of Atoifi hospital staff have helped members of the Atoifi Health Research Group to conduct a simple mosquito larva survey around the Atoifi hospital campus. Last week, these young ‘researchers’ ran all over the Atoifi campus to find mosquito larvae in old containers, pot plants, coconut shells, and tanks. The mosquito larva were then collected by research team members into a secure bottle.

Why collect mosquito larvae? Over the past few months several thousand people across Solomon Islands have become sick with dengue fever. Mosquitoes pass the dengue virus from one person to another, but it is only a few types of mosquitoes that can pass the dengue virus between people. Because of this, it is important to know what types of mosquitoes live in different places to help know who might be at risk of dengue.

The mosquito larvae have been sent to the Vector Born Disease laboratory in the Ministry of Health and Medical Service in Honiara for further examination. We are looking forward to the results to find out if the special mosquito that can pass dengue is present on the Atoifi hospital campus. Stay tuned!

For more information about the dengue work at Atoifi Hospital, please email: humpress.harrington[at]