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East Kwaio TB awareness work on Radio Australia

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The Atoifi TB Awareness Project, funded by the Australian Respiratory Council, hit the international news yesterday. Our colleague Esau Kekeubata was interviewed and a portion of the interview can be found at Radio Australia here.

East Kwaio pastor explores hookworm

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Pastor Paul Osa of the South Sea Evangelical Church today examined hookworm eggs at the Atoifi Adventist Hospital Laboratory. Pastor Osa is from Na'ua village, East Kwaio, Malaita province, Solomon Islands. Na'au residents have improved the village infrastructure by draining swampy areas, building raised pathways and undertaking a beautification scheme. These changes were prompted by the finding in 2011 that the village had a hookworm problem.

Atoifi TB project reaches evaluation stage

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The TB awareness project in the East Kwaio region, Malaita, Solomon Islands has reached the final evaluation stage. This project, funded by the Australian Respiratory Council, has raised awareness of TB and led to an increase in the number of people presenting for diagnosis and treatment. The team of researchers come from far and wide - Atoifi Adventist Hospital, Atoifi College of Nursing, East Kwaio mountains, James Cook University, Hunter New England NSW Health, Notre Dame University (Perth) and Tropical Health Solutions.

Grassroots to graduation: East Kwaio father and son celebrate in Port Moresby

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Chief Esau Kekeubata, cultural broker and THS collaborator from Malaita, Solomon Islands, recently attended the graduation of his son Tommy Esau from Pacific Adventist University (PAU). Tommy graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Geography and English) on Saturday 30 November from PAU in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Esau, who himself only had 1.5 years of formal schooling, was thrilled with the achievement of his son. “Tommy is the first person from our mountain tribe to earn a university degree”, Esau said. “I am very proud of his achievement.”

South Pacific style triathalon - Solomon Islands innovation

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Humpress Harrington, Principal of Atoifi College of Nursing on Malaita, Solomon Islands, was an invited speaker at the recent International Conference Science of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity in the Tropics. The conference held in Cairns, Australia on 28-29 November brought together the world’s leading sports and exercise scientists and researchers to discuss the challenges of sports and exercise in tropical environments .

A curious finding - probable asymptomatic Australian bat lyssavirus infection

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Although Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) can kill humans, it appears that every infection may not result in death. In a paper just published THS Director, Rick Speare, and colleagues report the unusual finding of antibodies against ABLV in a bat carer. The carer had no symptoms, had not traveled overseas and had not been vaccinated against rabies. This finding raises the possibility that ABLV may have caused an asymptomatic infection. A lucky escape!

This opportunistic finding illustrates that more studies are needed to understand the interaction between ABLV and humans.

Kwaio man and THS partner launches a book at the Australian National University

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Image: David Akin and Esau Kekeubata at the book launch in Canberra.
This news item is by Benjamin Afuga and was published on Facebook at Forum Solomon Islands.

At an exceptional occasion Tuesday this week at the Australian National University’s (ANU) University House, coinciding with the Solomon Islands Transition Workshop, a little known Esau Kekeubata of the interior of East Kwaio was given a rare honor to launch Doctor David Akin’s book: “Colonialism, Maasina Rule, and the Origins of Malaitan Kastom”.

Leeches - wonderful micropredators!

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Image: Blood continuing to ooze from two leech bites 30 mins after leeches had gone. Yungaburra, Queensland.

Leeches are not monsters of the rainforest. They are amazing sangivorous micropredators! THS Director, Rick Speare, discusses leeches in his recent column in Medical Observer.

Rural doctors urged to diagnose NTDs early

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Rick Speare, THS Director, delivered a key note address, Don't neglect the NTDs! to rural doctors at the Rural Medicine Australia 2013 Conference in Cairns last week. NTDs are Neglected Tropical Diseases, a collection of diseases of global significance most prevalent in neglected and underserved populations. There are 17 NTDs and 5 neglected conditions. Inclusion in the list of NTDs is highly political (at the global health level).

Bat meets tick - a disasterous relationship!

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Australia's most threatened species of flying fox, the Spectacled Flying Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) dies in large numbers each spring and summer from paralysis tick (Ixodes hyolocyclus). This terrestrial tick is not usually a predator of arboreal animals. The relationship is unique among bats and is confined to four camps on on the Atherton Tableland, North Queensland. A paper just published estimates the impact of the paralysis tick on the Spectacled Flying Fox population in these camps (Buettner et al 2013).

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