Research Capacity Strengthening at Atoifi

Atoifi in the Solomon Islands is becoming recognised as a hub for health research. Progress has been boosted in 2014 by a grant from the World Health Organization via Tropical Diseases Research (TDR) to build research capacity to improve control of infectious diseases. Atoifi is located on Malaita, Solomon Islands at 8° 52.120' S 161° 0.306' E.

The Atoifi team is based at the Atoifi Adventist Hospital and involves health professionals and community members. The research team is led by Humpress Harrington, Director of the Atoifi 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.

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.


First Atoifi TDR Research Training Workshop: The first TDR training workshop was held in March 2014 at Atoifi. This dealt with project planning and management. The Learning Outcomes were that participants would be able to:
• Identify who benefits from research and at what cost
• Identify key partners in research
• Write project aims and objectives
• Write research methods and key performance indicators
• Understand research ethics and processes for your project
• Create a project budget and timelines for project activities
• Understand the need to monitor and evaluate a research project.

Report from First Atoifi TDR Workshop
Redman-MacLaren et al. Project Planning and Management for Health Research. Research Training Workshop, 17-20 March 2014. Atoifi Adventist Hospital, East Kwaio.

Lectures from First Atoifi TDR Research Workshop
Day 1: What is a research project? Who benefits? Research project aims and objectives; timelines
Day 2: Ethics; Research Activities and Outputs; Timeframes
Day 3: Budgets and managing money for research projects
Day 4: Working in research teams; monitoring and evaluation; evaluation of workshop

Second Atoifi TDR Research Training Workshop: The second TDR training workshop was held in June 2014 at Atoifi. This dealt with grant writing. The Learning Outcomes were that participants would be able to:
• Discuss the key points from Workshop 1 Project Planning and Management
• Discuss when research funding is needed and when research can be done without funding
• List the components of a funding application
• Write Background and Significance for a funding application
• Conduct a review of the literature
• Create a project budget and do a budget justifications
• List the parts of a personal track record for grant applications
• Write a CV (curriculum vitae) and modify it for particular grant applications

Timetable for Second Workshop

Lectures from Second TDR Research Workshop
DAY ONE: What did we learn in workshop 1? Atoifi Research Grants Scheme; Lecture 2: When to apply for funds to do research; Structure of a research funding application. (700 kb)
DAY TWO: Background and significance; Reviewing the literature. (620 kb)
DAY THREE: Key budget principles for accountable project management; Constructing a budget; Importance of accurately estimating activities and timelines. (2.6 Mb)
DAY FOUR: Writing a better CV; Keeping a record of your achievements; Research track record. (480 kb)

If you would like Powerpoint copies of lectures, please contact Rick Speare (

Third Atoifi TDR Research Training Workshop: The third TDR training workshop will be held at Atoifi from 18 – 22 August 2014. The focus will be on 1) early dataanysis, particularly descriptive statistics, rates, proposrtions); and 2) interpretating your data and writing up results. For information about this workshop, please contact Humpress Harrington ( or Relmah Timothy-Harrington (

Journal Publications by the Atoifi Team

  • 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; epub.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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 .

    Humpress Harrington (
    Relmah Timothy-Harrington (

    Posted by Rick Speare 5 May and updated 1 July 2014