Atoifi Health Research Group

The Atoifi Health Research Group is a remarkable example of what can be achieved when local researchers are given the opportunity to answer their own questions. Atoifi is a small village in East Kwaio, Malaita Province, Solomon Islands, based around the Atoifi Adventist Hospital and the former Atoifi College of Nursing.

Research training started with training in theory in 2009. This did not lead to many outputs since local health professionals (mainly nurses) who wanted to do research did not gain an undesratnding of how it was done on the ground. From 2011 research capacity was built using a "learn by doing" model. Local researchers refined questions they wished to answer, developed research designs, conducted research, analysed results and published reports and papers.

The research questions are developed by the local health professionals and the community to answer relevant, local issues. The findings can be used to immediately to improve health. The team also is active in telling people what they have learnt, publishing in journals and presenting at conferences and meetings. See the list of publications below.

The research team is led by Humpress Harrington, Head of the Pacific Adventist University College of Nursing, and supported by researchers from James Cook University, Hunter New England NSW Health and Tropical Health Solutions. Training in research started in 2009.

Today the Atoifi Health Research Group is argueably the leading group conducting operational research in teh Solomon islands.

Please visit their home page at

THS is very privileged to be involved in this activity and in being able to support the group's website.

Journal Publications by the Atoifi Team

  • Bradbury R, Speare R. Spurious passage of Meloidogyne spp. eggs in human stool - Forgotten, but not gone. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2015;53(4):1458-1459.
  • Harrington H, Asugeni J, Jimuru C, Gwalaa J, Ribeyro E, Bradbury R, Joseph H, Melrose W, MacLaren D, Speare R. A practical strategy for responding to a case of lymphatic filariasis post-elimination in Pacific Islands. Parasites and Vectors 2013;6:218.
  • Harrington H, Asugeni R, MacLaren D. Inter-Island referrals in Solomon Islands: a remote hospital perspective. Rural and Remote Health 2013;13:2415.
  • Harrington H, Taolo L, MacLaren D. Triathlon in the Tropics - South Pacific Style. Chapter 10 in (eds Edwards A, Leicht A) Science of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity in the Tropics. Nova Science Publishers Inc: Hauppauge, USA. 2014.
  • Oloifana-Polosovai H, Gwala J, Harrington H, Massey PD, Ribeyro E, Flores A, Speare C, McBride E, MacLaren D, Speare R. A marked decline in the incidence of malaria in a remote region of Malaita, Solomon Islands, 2008 to 2013. Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal 2014;5(3):1-10.
  • Massey PD, Asugeni R, Wakageni,J, Kekeubata E, Maena’aadi J, Laete’esafi J, Waneagea J, Harrington H, Fangaria G, MacLaren D, Speare R. Progress towards TB control in East Kwaio, Solomon Islands. Rural and Remote Health 2013;13:2555.
  • Massey PD, Asugeni R, Wakageni J, Kekeubata E, Maena'aadi J, Laete'esafi J, Waneagea J, Asugeni V, Maclaren D, Speare R. Steps on a journey to TB control in Solomon Islands. A cross-sectional, mixed methods pre-post evaluation of a local language story-based DVD about TB. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2015;15:1.
  • Massey PD, Wakageni J, Kekeubata E, Maena’adi J, Laete’esafi J, Waneagea J, Fangaria G, Jimuru C, Houaimane M, Talana J, MacLaren D, Speare R. TB questions, East Kwaio answers: community-based participatory research in a remote area of Solomon Islands. Rural and Remote Health 2012;12:2139.
  • MacLaren DJ, Redman-MacLaren M, Timothy-Harington R, Asugeni R, Muse E, Jimuru E, Moutoa K, Speare R. HIV knowledge and attitudes: Local evidence for a local response in a remote Solomon Islands health service. Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal (in press – accepted 18 March 2015).
  • Redman-MacLaren ML, MacLaren DJ, Asugeni R, Fa’anuabae CE, Harrington H, Muse A, Speare R, Clough AR. “We can move forward”: challenging historical inequity in public health research in Solomon Islands. International Journal for Equity in Health 2010;9:25.
  • Redman-MacLaren ML, MacLaren DJ, Solomon J, Muse A, Asugeni R, Harrington H, Ketuabata E, Speare R, Clough AR. Research workshop to research work: initial steps in establishing health research systems on Malaita, Solomon Islands. Health Research Policy and Systems 2010;8:33.
  • Redman-MacLaren ML, MacLaren DJ, Humpress H, Asugeni R, Timothy-Harrington R, Kekeubata K, Speare R. Mutual research capacity strengthening: a qualitative study of two-way partnerships in public health research in Solomon Islands. International Journal of Equity in Health 2012;11:79 .
  • 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.

    Posted by Rick Speare
    26 March 2015