Senior health officials from 22 Pacific Island countries and territories along with regional and international health professionals have gathered in Suva, Fiji this week (25-27 April) for the Fifth Heads of Health meeting.

Organised by Pacific Community (SPC) with support from the Government of Australia, Government of New Zealand, World Bank and WHO, the annual meeting provides an important platform to review and contribute towards decisions that impact regional health policy.

“The main objective of this week is to review, discuss and make recommendations to the biennial Pacific Health Ministers Meeting,” SPC’s Public Health Division Director, Dr Paula Vivili said.

Last year, Pacific Heads of Health tasked SPC and WHO to facilitate the development of a Healthy Islands Monitoring Framework and this meeting provides an opportunity to review and discuss, among other issues, its progress.

The Healthy Islands Monitoring Framework is a crucial monitoring tool for the Pacific’s Healthy Island Vision, a concept developed by regional health ministers over 20 years ago to drive an integrated, holistic approach to health protection and promotion in the region.

“The Heads of Health will discuss the Monitoring Framework, make necessary changes and recommendations for approval by the Pacific Health Ministers Meeting which will be held in Cook Islands in August this year,” Dr Vivili said.

Also high on the agenda this week are the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Roadmap , Human Resources for Health as well as epidemic preparedness and response which will include discussions on strengthening health security in the region and the recent commemoration of 20 years of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN).

Media contact: 
Sunia Soakai, SPC Deputy-Director, Public Health Division, [email protected] or +679 993 5034