Head lice research in the Pacific

Researchers from the Atoifi Health Research Group have recently published a review of literature about head lice in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). They found...nothing useful! The researchers sought literature to inform guidelines for managing head lice (pediculosis) in Solomon Islands, but found the available evidence inadequate. The authors recommend research be conducted by PICT researchers to generate evidence that will address this ubiquitous health issue in the Pacific.

You can download this article for free: Speare R, Harrington H, Canyon D, Massey PD. A systematic literature review of pediculosis due to head lice in Pacific Island Countries and Territories: What country specific research on head lice is needed? BMC Dermatology 2014;14:11.

Image: Head louse egg attached to a strand of hair Credit: Kevin Mackenzie, University of Aberdeen

First WHO-TDR Workshop Completed


In March 2014, the first WHO TDR-funded workshop was held at Atoifi Hospital in East Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands. Sixty-seven health professionals, chiefs, community leaders and teachers attended the ‘Project Planning and Management for Health Research’ Workshop. Workshop sessions on theory were delivered in both day and night sessions. The morning sessions were delivered in the languages of Solomon Islands Pijin and Kwaio. This was to ensure that community leaders and mountain chiefs who had limited English (and were the majority of morning session participants) could fully participate. The night sessions, conducted in English, were primarily attended by health professionals and teachers.

Practical sessions were held in the afternoon, where research leaders and workshop participants worked on actual research projects utilising the project planning and management theory that had been discussed in the morning session. The research projects planned in the afternoon sessions included the ‘Elimination of Soil-transmitted Helminths one village at a time’ project and a new education research project about culturally appropriate education in the Kwaio Mountains.

Workshop topics included:

  • What is a research project?
  • Who benefits from research?
  • Developing aims and objectives for a research project
  • Managing project timelines
  • Health research ethics
  • Writing research methods/activities, outputs for research projects
  • Budgeting for research
  • Working in a research team
  • Monitoring and evaluation of research projects

For a comprehensive Report of this Workshop, please click here

Atoifi Triathlon Book Chapter published: Free and online

The recent success of Atoifi Triathlons has been recorded in a book chapter published in April 2014. Entitled ‘Triathlon in the Tropics: South Pacific Style’, Humpress Harrington, Lucy Taolo and Dr David MacLaren share how Atoifi health professionals tasked with reducing non-communicable diseases use triathlons to encourage increased physical activity at Atoifi. The triathlons are modified to be “South Pacific‟ style - paddling dugout canoes, swimming in the lagoon and running on rough bush tracks. To read this book chapter for free, click on the link below.

WHO TDR Grant awarded to Atoifi


In 2014, Atoifi were awarded a one-year WHO Tropical Diseases Research (TDR) grant to build research capacity to improve the control of infectious diseases. Led by Humpress Harrington, Principal of the Atoifi College of Nursing, this grant will fund research capacity strengthening activities with local Atoifi health professional and community members. Activities are being supported by public health researchers from James Cook University, Hunter New England Health and Tropical Health Solutions.