SPC guides health workers in the battle against STIs
 The President of Fiji, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, today participated with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in the launch of Comprehensive Sexually Transmitted Infections Management Guidelines. The guidelines are a significant weapon in the battle against STIs in the Pacific, and the result of extensive training and consultation with Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).
Pacific meeting on tuberculosis and diabetes commits to improving care and prevention
ImageAt a recent meeting in Palau, Pacific tuberculosis (TB) experts have called for increased commitment to improving both the care for people with diabetes and tuberculosis, and prevention of the two diseases.


Experts from national TB and non-communicable disease programmes gathered at the combined Pacific Stop TB and Pacific Island TB Controllers Association meeting to discuss the convergence of TB and diabetes and to promote better ways of managing this dual epidemic.

SPC, PNG sign agreement to support NCD prevention and control activities

ImageWednesday 6 July 2011, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Honiara, Solomon Islands

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Ministry of Health of Papua New Guinea (PNG) will provide support to PNG’s initiatives to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The MOU was signed by SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers and PNG’s Deputy Secretary of Health, Dr Paison Dakulala in Solomon Islands last Thursday, where they were attending the Ninth Meeting of Pacific Health Ministers.

Dr Rodgers explained that the MOU is an instrument through which SPC can provide funds to PNG to address its national NCD activities.

He announced that SPC will provide a grant in the amount of AUD 450,000 to PNG for these activities over the next two years.

Whole of government approach’ needed to address health challenges says SPC Director-General

ImageWednesday 29 June 2011, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Honiara, Solomon Islands

Director-General of SPC Dr Jimmie Rodgers said long-term solutions to health challenges in the Pacific Island region require a dedicated ‘whole of government approach’ and ‘whole of community approach’.

Dr Rodgers explained that, with a whole of government approach, health ministers would find it easier to address the health challenges that each of their countries faces. ‘It will actually be government policy to direct the attention so that they will have a good health outcome,’ he said.

Regional Health Ministers to call for global attention to Pacific NCD epidemic

ImageWednesday 29 June 2011, WHO/SPC, Honiara, Solomon Islands

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Shin Young-Soo said it is extremely important that issues relating to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the Pacific Islands are addressed by leaders at the United Nations High-level Meeting on NCD prevention and control in September this year.

At a press conference during the Ninth Meeting of the Ministers of Health for the Pacific Island Countries in Honiara Dr Shin said that NCDs are increasing exponentially in the Pacific Islands.   

NCDs, principally cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory illnesses and diabetes, are responsible for about 75% of deaths in the Pacific Islands.

Strengthening influenza surveillance in the Pacific

ImageA workshop aimed at reviewing and strengthening current influenza surveillance systems in the Pacific Island region was held in Fiji last week.

Outbreaks of influenza can occur at any time of the year in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), with the continual movement of people in and out of the region. The disease can also spread easily between PICTs, as demonstrated during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

‘We try to make sure that all PICTs, including the most remote islands, can send samples for testing to laboratories for detection and identification of influenza viruses,’ said Salanieta Elbourne, Laboratory Specialist at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

It is crucial for PICTs to be able to detect and confirm outbreaks of influenza quickly in order to respond effectively.

Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Deputy Director-General of SPC, emphasised at the opening of the workshop that‘Curtailing the spread of influenza is important because it not only affects the health of the population, it also impacts on the social, economic and financial aspects of a nation.’

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