Atoifi TB project reaches evaluation stage

Thursday, 12 December, 2013

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. The group has gathered at Atoifi in Solomon Islands to analyse pre and post-test surveys and to prepare a report for the funding body.

The local researchers used a locally made DVD to run information sessions in 41 coastal and mountain villages in East Kwaio. They collected 255 surveys from village chiefs, church leaders and other residents. This is the first widespread TB awareness program conducted in this region of Solomon Islands.

The evaluation found that the level of basic knowledge about TB was high and improved with the awareness raising. The team thinks that lack of knowledge is unlikely to be the reason for failure to present when symptoms are present. 30% of people think that sorcery causes TB even after the DVD. This is an issue to be explored further.

People also thought thatTB treatment could be stopped when they felt better. ARC has funded a second project in East Kwaio to start in 2014 to address the very important issue of completing TB treatment courses.

Image: Team members entering pre and post-test data at Atoifi, Solomon Islands. From left - Melinda Dixie (nurse), Lucy Taolo (nurse), Chief Esau Kekeubata and Chief Jackson Waneagea.

For more details on the DVD produced by the Atoifi team visit this previous THS news item.

Posted by Rick Speare