Sunia Foliaki

Doctor of Philosophy, (Public Health)
Study Completed: 2007
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Epidermiology of Asthma in Selected Pacific Countries.

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Mr Foliaki studied the prevalence of asthma among high school students in Tokelau, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Niue and Cook Islands using the standardised International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood methodology. He also conducted an intervention study in Tonga of the effectiveness of asthma self-management plans. Findings showed large variations in asthma prevalence between the participating countries, but all countries showed lower asthma prevalence than that previously seen among Pacific populations in New Zealand. This outcome suggests that environmental factors play a major role. The research also provided hypotheses for future research on risk factors for asthma, as well as a baseline for determining trends in asthma prevalence, in the Pacific. The use of an asthma self management plan by asthmatics in Tonga resulted in significant reductions in asthma hospitalisations, improved lung functioning overall and acceptance by the community.

Professor Neil Pearce
Professor Jeroen Douwes