Media training in mountains of East Kwaio

NEWS FLASH from Tommy Esau, Researcher

Video and camera training today for the current Medicinal Plants project.Thanks to Ben Speare for all your help rendered towards the work at the Kwainaa'si Cultural Centre.

For more information about the Medicinal plants project, please email Tommy Esau:

Towards Nursing Excellence for Pacific Heath

by Tommy Esau, Research Assistant, Atoifi Health Research Group

Atoifi Health Research Group (AHRG) members are among approximately 300 nurses from across the Pacific who are attending the 18th South Pacific Nurses Forum this week (31st October - 4th November 2016) in Honiara. Ten members from the AHRG group are presenting six papers and one poster reporting a range of clinical and public health research findings, along with practice implications.

Conference organisers stated, “The forum brings together more than 300 nurses from across the Pacific to explore the importance of cross cultural understanding and regional cooperation in nursing.”

The theme for the Forum is: Towards Nursing Excellence for Universal (Pacific) Health.

Conference organisers further explained, “The 18th SPNF brings together evidence, experience and innovations highlighting nurses contribution to universal health coverage, and demonstrating how nurses are important to ensuring access and quality of health care for all.”

For more information about the AHRG or to make contact with the AHRG at the Forum, please email: Ms Rowena Asugeni

Photo (L-R): Tommy Esau, Debbie Puia, Daisy Lina, Kenny Moutoa, Rowena Asugeni, James Asugeni, Hemma Toloka.

Kwainaai’isi Cultural Centre partners with Bougainvillian Conservation Group

Researcher from the Atoifi Health Research Group, Mr Tommy Esau, has just returned from a trip to Bougainville where he worked with Dr Tyron Lavery, Biologist from University of Queensland and Dr Jeffery Noro, Director of the Kainake Conservation Group. The team were in search of giant rats and monkey-faced bats as part of an Australia National Museum project.

The purpose of Tommy’s trip was to join the ‘Bats And Rats’ expedition at Bougainville and learn about conservation in that area. It is part of the 'look and learn' trips planned by the two community based organizations to build partnerships and strengthen conservation capacity in local contexts.

Tommy explains, “While there I was able to witness the sighting of a giant rat known as the Kamere for the first time, captured by the local hunters during the field trip.” “This is great news for the Kainake community and their future plans for conservation.”

In addition to the capture of a Giant rat, the smaller, more common Pteropodids (flying fox) were caught.

Dr Tyron and Tommy were invited to talk during the community meeting about the importance of caring for the environment, and other ideas about conservation.
Dr Tyrone highlighted that there is a need for recognition of local traditional ecological knowledge with scientific knowledge. “The local’s traditional knowledge should be treasured and encouraged as a way of building local capacity”, Dr Tyrone said.

Tommy also shared with the community about the work and challenges of the Kwainaa’isi Cultural Centre, and the Atoifi Health Research group. Dr Jeffery Noro, Director of the Kainake Conservation Group responded saying, “This sharing (by Tommy) was an inspiration to our group and motivated us to look beyond the challenges we face.”

The two groups are looking forward for more future exchange programs and collaboration on a conservation projects, cultural exchanges, and joint capacity building.

For more information, please email Mr Tommy Esau: fataiaman[at]

Photos (L-R): (i) Dr Tyrone and Tommy in Bougainville; (ii) Dr Jeffery, Dr Tyrone and community members of the Kainake Conservation Group

Health workers asked about pilot test kits

This week the Atoifi Health Research Group (AHRG) travelled to Gounabusi, Nafinua, Aerei, and Namolaelae Clinics. In addition, interviews have been conducted in various departments of Atoifi Adventist Hospital. The purpose of the trips was to understand the health worker's experience of using The Yaws and Syphilis Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT).

In July, Michael Marks from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, partnered with the AHRG to begin the Yaws and Syphilis Treatment and Survey Project. During this time, the AHRG introduced a rapid diagnostic test kit. This will make the confirmation of positive cases and treatment much quicker for patients, as the diagnosis now being made in the clinics. This week, The AHRG team visited a number of the clinics where the test kits had been rolled out, and interviewed the health workers.

Now the interviews have been completed, the data will be analysed and used to inform future training and support of health workers using the RDT. Results from this study in East Malaita will also help inform national testing procedures in Solomon Islands and across the Pacific.

For more information about this study, please contact Dr. Jason Diau. (