SIVB, Solomon Airlines and Rotary assists Fiji medicos

The Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau in partnership with Solomon Airlines and Rotary has stepped up to help enable a specialist Fijian medical team to visit the Hapi Isles in order to train local medicos in the fight to prevent rheumatic heart disease.

The visit by Dr Sainimere Boladuadua and senior nurse Frances Matanatabu from the Fiji Islands RHD Prevention and Control Program has been hailed a major success with close on 40 local medical staff attending a two-day workshop at the National Referral Hospital.

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that may affect many connective tissues of the body, especially those of the heart, joints, brain or skin and usually occurs in children between the ages of five and 16 years.

According to the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC) the Solomon Islands has a high burden of rheumatic heart disease where prevalence of the condition is high affecting 24 cases per 1000 children.

The main thrust of the visit by the Fijian team was to increase RHD-related health literacy for healthcare workers in Honiara with training covering a vast range of subject matter.

This included epidemiology, risk factors, acute rheumatic fever causes, diagnosis, treatment, RHD diagnosis and management, primordial, primary and secondary prevention.

Thanking the SIVB, Solomon Airlines and Rotary for their help in providing accommodation, flights between Fiji and Honiara and funding, Dr Boladuadua said the support contributed greatly towards the move to revive rheumatic heart disease prevention and control efforts in the Hapi Isles.

Dr Titus Nasi, Head of Paediatrics, NRH and Chairperson of the Open-Heart Committee also expressed his sincere thanks to the two Fijian medicos for the time given to come to Honiara and provide very informative training as well as identifying gaps in the local program.

“It has been motivating and challenging and the participants have been very well informed,” Dr Nasi said.

MIKE PARKER-BROWN [Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau]