Malaria declines in East Kwaio! New research from Solomon Islands

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
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Malaria is a major health challenge for people living in Solomon Islands. However, something has changed in East Kwaio over the past 7 years. Helen Oloifana-Polosovai, the Medical Laboratory Scientist at Atoifi Hospital noticed a marked decline in malaria cases, especially the proportion of people testing positive for Plasmodium falciparum (Pf). Helen wanted to know more.

Helen discussed her observations with Professor Rick Speare (Tropical Health Solutions) and colleagues during a health research workshop in 2013. Given the extensive records at Atoifi Hospital, members of the Atoifi Health Research Group conducted a descriptive study using:
1. Laboratory records of malaria tests
2. Hospital admissions for malaria
3. Prescription of malaria treatments

Results show a spectacular decline in malaria cases in the Atoifi Hospital catchment area, particularly for Pf which declined by 97% from 2008 to 2013. The decline was associated with the use of artemisinin-based combined therapy and improved relationships between the Atoifi Hospital and surrounding communities.

Results have just been published in the Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal. http://ojs.wpro.who.int/ojs/index.php/wpsar/article/view/274/415
This research was funded by a WHO-TDR grant

For more information about this research, email: rickspeare@gmail.com

Photo (L-R): Authors Prof Rick Speare, Humpress Harrington and Helen Oloifana-Polosovai with colleagues at a recent health research workshop