MCRI has developed a long and productive research collaboration with Fiji to work towards understanding how scabies affects the Fijian population. This successful collaboration in research has been translated into a working relationship with the implementation of the World Scabies Program to eliminate scabies as a national public health problem throughout the country.
Scabies is highly prevalent throughout Fiji, with recent studies showing 23% of Fijians has scabies at any given time. Moreover, scabies disproportionately affects children with 45% of children aged 5-9 years old, almost one in every two children, being affected by the disease. In 2016, the Fiji Government released its annual Health Status Report revealing skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) to be the fifth most common cause of mortality within the country.
WSP works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health through the Fijian Centre of Disease Control, P.J. Towmey Hospital and all Divisional Health Teams to implement mass drug administration to eliminate the spread of scabies throughout communities. The program works towards the establishment of a long-term program within the Ministry of Health by strengthening health system capacity to adequately monitor and manage scabies. Additionally, MCRI will work closely with the Fiji WSP Country Team to engage the community and support community health workers in rolling out the WSP and raise community awareness about scabies.