Latest News

Ebola control has major setback in Sierra Leone


The horrific Ebola outbreak in West Africa has just suffered a major setback to control. The chief doctor managing the outbreak in Sierra Leone has himself just become infected with Ebola. Dr Sheik Umar Khan, a 39-year-old virologist who is personally credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, has now been admitted to a treatment ward at the heart of the outbreak in Kailahun. See report at The Independent.

Atoifi Health Research Group - Now on the Web!

Atoifi Health Research Group - local research by locals

Atoifi Adventist Hospital and the surrounding communities are using research to improve the health of local communities. The Atoifi Health Research Group (AHRG) web site has just been launched. Visit This is a very dynamic group of local health professionals and local village residents doing research to answer local questions. Australian researchers provide mentorship and guidance. Tropical Health Solutions is proud and priviliged to be part of this venture.

Nothing useful! - a review of research on head lice in the Pacific Countries and Territories


A just published review of research on head lice in the 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) has found that nothing of value has been published. THS Director, Rick Speare, led a team that included authors from Atoifi College of Nursing (Solmon Islands), University of Hawaii (USA) and NSW Health (Australia). The aim was to find evidence to assist in producing guidelines for management of pediculosis in Solomon Islands, the second most populaous country in the PICTs.

The only research from the Solomon Islands was published 37 years ago and lacked details.

PAC or no PAC? High altitude hiking


The Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC) is a tough plastic bag that weighs 8 kg and can be used to treat acute mountain sickness. In experienced hands it is a valuable addition to a high altitude trek.

In his latest Travel Bug column in Medical Observer THS Director, Rick Speare, examines the issues associated with deciding whether to take a PAC or not on a trek up Mt Kilmanjaro in Kenya. An arcane topic!

Visit PAC or not at Medical Observer.

Solomon Islands: Toilets arrive in Na’au!

Pedestals on the wharf at Atoifi, Solomon Islands

When you live on an average income of less than USD1 per day, formal toilets may seem an unrealistic dream. Residents of Na’au in East Kwaio, Solomon Islands had the vision of safe defecation, but lacked the where-with-all to purchase the materials. On Wednesday this week persistence produced pedestals on the wharf at Atoifi. An amazing sight and cause for celebration!

New research grant - Atoifi Research Grants Scheme (ARGS) - Solomon Islands


Atoifi Adventist Hospital announced its new Atoifi Research Grants Scheme (ARGS) last week. This is a new activity of Atoifi’s Research Capacity Strengthening Project. The ARGS will provide funds to local researchers (“a resident who does research”) to answer local questions of relevance to health. This can include clinical research, community based health research, educational research, analysis of local data, or other relevant topics that are related to health or social determinants of health.

Monkey bites in Bali


What to do after a monkey bite in Bali? Although the risk of rabies from a Balinese money bite is negligible, any animal bite from a rabies-endemic country must be managed with rabies post-exposure protocol. Rick Speare's latest Travel Bug column in the Medical Observer discusses this controversial topic. Read it here.

Posted by Rick Speare

Project Planning and Management training in Solomon Islands

TDR research capacity strenthening at Atoifi, Solomon Islands

A workshop on Project Planning and Management held last week in the Solomon Islands was highly successful. This workshop was held at Atoifi, a remote site in East Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands for 4 days from 17 March. It was attended by nurses, teachers, village leaders, pastors, a doctor, a pharmacist and chiefs from the Kwaio Mountains. About 60 individuals attended overall. Morning sessions were held in Solomon Islands pijin and the same sessions repeated at night in English.

Hendra Virus documentary on YouTube


Hendra Virus is a zoonotic emerging infectious disease (EID) that spills over from flying foxes (Pteropus spp) in Australia to horses and then to humans. Seven people have been infected and four have died, two of them veterinarians. The Hendra virus vaccine for horses will drastically reduce the risk of human cases through protecting horses.

Targeting crusted scabies has massive impact on scabies in East Arnhem Land


The East Arnhem Scabies Control Program (EASCP), supported by One Disease at a Time, has reduced scabies after 18 months. The EASCP focuses on assisting people with the tendency to crusted scabies to remain free of scabies. Crusted scabies is a form of scabies with large number of mites and crusted cases are superspreaders, capable of infecting many people. Keeping these people free of scabies not only improves their quality of life, but also reduces transmission to other members of the community.