Atoifi contributes to National Health Research Symposium

Monday, December 4, 2017

'Building the foundation for the future’ was the theme for the 1st National Health Research Symposium in Honiara last week, co-hosted by the Research Department of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Solomon Islands National University (SINU) and James Cook University (JCU).

From Monday 27th to Wednesday 29th November, 2017 over 100 researchers, policy makers and health workers gathered at SINU in Honiara to listen to 27 present research activities/findings and exchange ideas.

Mr Hillary Toloka, Research Nurse from Atoifi presented findings about the community treatment of yaws and scabies in East Kwaio, Mr James Asugeni presented 'Incorporating Sociocultural Beliefs in Mental Health Services in Kwaio, Solomon Islands', while Mr Kenny Motoa presented his research being conducted about nurses' knowledge of hand hygiene at Atoifi Hospital.

Mrs Helen Oloifana-Polosovai, Medical Laboratory Scientist from Atoifi Hospital (pictured with Mrs Dorothy Esau, AHRG Research Worker) won an Award of Excellence for her presentation of 'The Prevalence of Malaria Infection in Pregnant women in Malaita Island.[Solomon Islands] 2006-2010 and 2012-2016' - congratulations Helen!

Eleven of the researchers presenting were from the JCU Tropical Partners program, who had attended a research training workshop at Atoifi in September.

On Wednesday 29 November, a popular workshop about GIS mapping for health was conducted, while the AHRG presented a day-long workshop on research design and methodology.

Ms Fred Pitakaka, Chief Research Officer of the Ministry of Health stated, "In Solomon Islands, health research activity has been modest due to limited resources and capacities". She went on to explain that there is "a gradual increase of emerging local researchers as compared to previous years. This indicates the increasing capacity of MHMS workforce to conduct health research relevant to local health issues".

The participants celebrated the success of the Symposium with a dinner and presentation of awards on Wednesday night. Mr Michael Larui, National Head of Nursing, MHMS reminded guests of the Atoifi Health Research Group's mantra, 'small is beautiful': small, locally-driven research about local health issues can make a positive difference for improved health for all.

For more information about the Symposium, please email Ms Freda Pitakaka: freda.pitakaka[at]

For more information about the work of Atoifi Health Research Group, please email Mr Humpress Harrington: humpress.harrington[at]