The members of the PPHSN Coordinating Body
(CB) met for the tenth time in Noumea, New Caledonia, 2–4 June 2004, before
the second Regional EpiNet Workshop.
Below is a brief summary of the main issues discussed at the meeting.
CB membership renewal in 2004
The procedure to name new CB members will be followed in 2004 in order to have new members on board in 2005 (as was done in 2003 for 2004). For the two sub-regional seats:
For the three “at large” core member positions, numbers from 1 to 3 had to be randomly allocated as agreed during the PPHSN-CB 8 meeting. The result is: 1 Fiji Islands; 2 Solomon Islands; 3 New Caledonia. The number 3 position, currently filled by New Caledonia, is the one due for renewal this year.
A letter will also be circulated to all allied members asking if they are interested in being represented on the CB. The sitting CB will choose one allied member from among nominees, for a three-year term.
It was also proposed that the Fiji School of Medicine become a permanent allied member in the CB, as are WHO and SPC.
The CB members agreed to improve communication among members. Following discussion, the Communicable Disease Network Australia (CDNA) approach (teleconference and letters) was adopted as an option in addition to a discussion list and the usual emails.
Research and surveillance inventory
The CB members agreed that an inventory of all the existing and planned projects research and surveillance projects carried out in the PICTs should be made.
IHR regulations and the role of the PPHSN
The CB members agreed that PPHSN should play a role in the implementation of International Health Regulations (IHR) mechanisms in the PICTs. Taking into account that this initiative should be endorsed by all the PICTs at the highest political level, they decided that a proposal should be submitted to the Meeting of Ministers and Directors of Health in Samoa in March 2005. A working group drafted a proposal for further discussions at the second Regional EpiNet workshop.
It was also agreed that the IHR focal points should be part of the National EpiNet Teams. A letter should be written to all Ministers of Health in order to receive their feedback and endorsement.
Regional EpiNet Team
The CB members agreed that a Regional EpiNet Team should be set up as soon as possible. Many aspects need to be considered before starting the process (identification of the resource persons, agreement at the PICT level, funding, etc.), and this issue was referred to a working group and further discussed at the Second Regional EpiNet Workshop.
Training and accreditation
Following Dr Narendra Singh’s presentation, the CB members acknowledged the importance of accreditation. They also agreed that new opportunities and initiatives such as the Data for Decision Making (DDM) training programme are very useful. The WHO Pacific Open Learning Health Net initiative was mentioned as a good example of a distance training opportunity, having the advantage of training the health professionals on the ground without taking them away from their country for a long period.
PopGIS for presenting data and selling ideas
Following a demonstration from SPC’s population geographic information system (GIS) project, the CB members highlighted two key issues:
Directory of PPHSN resources
The CB members agreed that the proposed directory of PPHSN resources, including LabNet “instructions for use”, to be produced by the CB focal point, would be very useful.
Discussion and planning of PPHSN extension, to include the following activities:
• HIV/AIDS & STI
• Expanded programme for
immunisation and measles surveillance
Other communicable diseases
The CB members agreed that resources and funds needed to be identified before taking on board new diseases, except if a new priority arises such as SARS. Dr Jan Pryor updated the CB on the development of NCD-STEPS initiative. As there had been no progress regarding the suggested integration of NCDs to the PPHSN, it was decided that the previously suggested discussion list be created to facilitate communication in this area.
More laboratory issues
Following the TWB meeting’s debriefing, the CB members identified a few more laboratory issues that need to be addressed, as follows.
It seems that problems with specimen referrals and shipment with airlines are experienced everywhere, not only in the PICTs. WHO Headquarters is trying to solve this problem at the global level.