Plans to tackle hookworm in Marovo

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Atoifi Health Research Group recently travelled to to Marovo Island in Marovo Lagoon, Western Province, Solomon Islands to conduct a survey of soil-transmitted helminths (STH) in two villages. Working in Chea and Sasaghana from 3-9 January, 2016 the Group worked with village-based research assistants to identify the extent of gutworm infestation in their communities.

Consistent with the learn-by-doing model of the Group, 26 research assistants had training in the lifecycles and transmission of STH, basic microscopy, identification of STH eggs and larvae, collection and management of samples.

The trainees then put their new knowledge into practice the same week, assisting with the collection and management of samples and identifying STH eggs in samples provided by people from the two villages.

Mr Humpress Harrington, Research Leader and host of the Group in Marovo, said “The knowledge about the transmission cycle of the main parasite found – hookworm – will help inform water and sanitation programs in the two villages.”

Australian researchers Emeritus Professor Rick Speare, Tropical Health Solutions, and Dr David MacLaren, James Cook University were supported by Atoifi-based researchers Mr Humpress Harrington, Mr Esau Kekeubata, Mrs Dorthy Esau and Mr Tommy Esau, and Marovo Island resident Mr Nobo Harrington, all who have extensive research experience as a result of the health research capacity strengthening activities that have been conducted at Atoifi since 2009.

There are plans to return to Marovo to continue to STH research.

“The Chairman of Marovo Island Council of Chiefs invited the Group to do three things”, Mr Harrington explained. “Send back the STH Survey Report as soon as possible to inform water and sanitation options, survey more villages and retest the populations after we have built more toilets.”

As a result of the survey, all residents of the two villages have received deworming medication.

For more information about this research, please contact Mr Humpress Harrington:

Photo: Dr David MacLaren explains how to use the use microscope to research assistants on Marovo Island.

Photo courtesy of Mr Benjamin Speare