Strengthening capacity for local evidence to inform local responses to HIV in a remote Solomon Islands health service

MacLaren, David, Redman-MacLaren, Michelle, Timothy-Harrington, Relmah, Asugeni, Rowena, Muse, Elmah, Jimuru, Emmy, Moutoa, Kenny, and Speare, Rick (2015) Strengthening capacity for local evidence to inform local responses to HIV in a remote Solomon Islands health service. Western Pacific Surveillance and Response, 6 (2). pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

Background: Documenting specific knowledge and attitudes about HIV in the culturally diverse nation of Solomon Islands is essential to inform locally targeted public health responses. As part of a large capacity-strengthening project at Atoifi Adventist Hospital in East Kwaio, Solomon Islands, researchers, using a 'learn-by-doing' process, worked with participants in public health research methods.

Methods: Overall, 43 people attended research capacity building workshops in 2011; eight joined the HIV study group. A cross-sectional survey including semi-structured interviews on HIV was conducted by the group. In February 2014, a hospital administrator was interviewed about how the 2011 study informed local HIV responses.

Results: Of the 53 survey participants, 64% self-assessed as having little or no HIV knowledge, but 90% knew HIV could be transmitted between men and women during sex. Less than 50% knew HIV could be transmitted between two men having sex, 45% thought HIV could be transmitted by mosquitoes and 55% agreed condoms help protect from HIV. Most participants reported negative attitudes towards people with HIV. Three years later the health administrator reported ad hoc responses to HIV because of low HIV prevalence, increasing noncommunicable diseases, staff turnover and resource shortages.

Discussion: This HIV study was used to strengthen research skills in local health professionals and community members in Solomon Islands. It showed that community members require accurate information about HIV transmission and that entrenched stigma is an issue. Although results provided local evidence for local response, ongoing health system challenges and little local HIV transmission meant HIV services remain rudimentary.

Item ID: 39315
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2094-7313
Keywords: Solomon Islands, HIV, research capacity building, community-based research
Additional Information:

© 2015 MacLaren et al; licensee the World Health Organization. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution IGO License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/igo/legalcode), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. In any reproduction of this article there should not be any suggestion that WHO or this article endorse any specific organization, products or services. The use of the WHO logo is not permitted. This notice should be preserved along with the article's original URL.

Funders: James Cook University
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2015 02:48
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111715 Pacific Peoples Health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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