The Fiji Group A Streptococcal Project (Fiji GrASP) began in 2005 with funding received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Infectious and Allergic Diseases. It is a long standing collaborative research project between the Fiji Ministry of Health and the University of Melbourne Centre for International Child Health and other institutions. Subsequent funding has come largely from Cure Kids.
Fiji GrASP has been the focal point for group A Streptococcal (GAS) related research in Fiji, with a focus on rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and acute rheumatic fever (ARF). Fiji GrASP has had a close relationship with the Fiji RHD Control Program.
Initial studies sought to describe the epidemiology (both clinical and molecular) of GAS disease in Fiji with a view to vaccine development. Subsequent studies have focused RHD epidemiology using echocardiograph as first line screening; a pilot study to teach nurses to undertake basic RHD echocardiography; evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of health workers briefly trained in focused cardiac ultrasound screening and secondary prophylaxis adherence and clinical outcomes of young people with screening-detected RHD. Other non-GrASP studies include skin and scabies related GAS and control strategies.
Fiji GrASP has been successful in collaborating with the Fiji RHD Program and other partners in conducting research to answer clinically relevant questions for the Fiji and has resulted in more than twenty publications since its inception and informed the Fiji RHD policy and best practice guidelines.