Guide to SPC’s Public
Health Surveillance and Communicable Disease Control Section Services
This document is
an extract from the publication “Guide to SPC Services – November 2004 -
Revised edition.” (see page for more information
on this publication). Although, this information is available on our
section’s website and the
website, we thought it worthwhile reproducing it in Inform’ACTION for
wider dissemination, especially for those who do not have access to the
Internet. We would also like to invite every PPHSN allied members to share
the same kind of information with the network through the columns of the
next issues of Inform’ACTION.
and partners│Assistance offered│
Public Health Surveillance & Communicable Disease Control (PHS&CDC)
Section is part of the Public Health Programme within the Social Resources
Division. It is based at SPC's Noumea headquarters. The section has
five full-time positions: Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Surveillance
Specialist, a HIV/AIDS/STI Surveillance Specialist, Surveillance
Information Officer and Data Processing Officer.
The section is supported by a part-time Project Assistant.
• PHS&CDC Section website:
• PPHSN website:
• Distance Education in Health website, in partnership with University of Guam:
• Dr Tom Kiedrzynski, Epidemiologist: email@example.com; Tel +687 26 01 43
• Dr Narendra Singh, Communicable Disease Surveillance Specialist: NarendraS@spc.int;
Tel +687 26 20 00
• Mr Tim Sladden, HIV/AIDS/STI Surveillance Specialist: TimS@spc.int; Tel +687
26 20 00
• Christelle Lepers, Surveillance Information Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel
+687 26 01 81
• Elise Benyon, Data Processing Officer: email@example.com; Tel +687 26 01 64
• PPHSN Coordinating Body Focal Point: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel +687 26 20 00; Fax
+687 26 38 18
• SPC Noumea: Tel +687 26 20 00; Fax +687 26 38 18
Mandate: The Public Health Surveillance and Communicable Disease Control
(PHS&CDC) Section’s mandate is the PHP Strategic Plan. The section is also the
Focal Point of the Coordinating Body of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance
Network (PPHSN), with the directions of the PPHSN approved by the annual meeting
of the PPHSN Coordinating Body.
Goal: Healthier Pacific Island communities.
Objectives 2003-2005: The section shares the broad
objectives of the Public Health Programme. In addition, the overall objectives
of the section are: (1) develop public health surveillance in the Pacific
Islands in a sustainable manner; (2) ensure that all programme activities are in
line with the goal of a sustainable development of public health surveillance
and applied epidemiology in Pacific Island countries and territories, and with
the PPHSN development plans and strategic framework.
Funding and partners: All positions are
funded by voluntary contributions from France and NZAID, except the HIV/AIDS/STI
Surveillance Specialist position funded under the France/Australia Regional
HIV/AIDS Project. The work programme is funded in part by voluntary
contributions from France, NZAID and AusAID, and in part by project-specific
funding provided by various donors including ADB, Taiwan/ROC, and the US Centers
for Disease Control (bioterrorism-related funds). Most of the activities are
undertaken in partnership with PPHSN core and allied members within the
framework of the network.
Policy development I
Technical assistance I
Training on request I
Training attachments I
Meetings I Networks I
Information resources available I
Requests for assistance can be made directly to any of
the section’s staff. Certain types of assistance (e.g. in-country) may
require written requests from relevant government departments. The first
priorities of the PPHSN are communicable diseases, especially the
outbreak-prone ones. At this stage the target diseases include: dengue,
measles, rubella, influenza, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, cholera, SARS and
assistance on policies and national plans of action with regards to
communicable disease surveillance and response is available to PICT
governments on request, particularly with reference to the PPHSN strategic
framework and development plans.
technical assistance is available on request to EpiNet teams and ministries
and departments of health for
communicable disease public health surveillance and epidemiology,
especially the review and development of surveillance systems, and outbreak investigation and response.
Through the HIV/STI Surveillance Specialist, more specific support is given
to HIV/STI surveillance (especially second generation surveillance).
partnership with PPHSN members and bodies, the section conducts sub-regional
and in-country training workshops in:
public health surveillance
outbreak investigation & communicable
computer applications for public health
surveillance and outbreak investigation.
Accreditation by the Fiji School of Medicine is possible.
These workshops can also be delivered within the framework of a "Data for
Decision-Making" (DDM) training programme or Field Epidemiology Training
Preferably members of the
national/territorial EpiNet team (or equivalent), plus any person involved
in public health surveillance and response.
Duration: 1 week for each module.
SPC or other PPHSN partners (including PICTs) cover airfare and per diem
costs. A cost-share basis is also possible, e.g. for in-country training
with the country covering local costs.
Follow-up: Participants are expected to
implement or improve some surveillance activities in-country. A field
project is required within the framework of the DDM or FETP.
partnership with PPHSN members and bodies, sub-regional or in-country training workshops can
be provided on request, provided funding (by the country/territory or from
other sources) is available. The subject areas can be tailored to address
specific country needs.
training takes the form of an attachment within the Section at SPC's Noumea
headquarters. Trainees work on specific projects, with clear
objectives and expected outputs, agreed on between themselves and the
Section. Usually, an article by the trainee on the achieved work is
published as a result of the attachment.
Students or health
professionals from the region interested in public health surveillance of
Conditions: Application on request of
country/territory or partner agency. Approval is contingent on the
workload of the section and on availability of funding.
Number of participants:
One, possibly two
persons can be trained at a time.
Preferably 3-4 months, although this
On a cost-sharing basis, depending on availability of funding (with the
section possibly covering airfare and per diem costs for food and accommodation).
Follow-up: On their return home, possibility
of assistance at distance if needed.
to plan and monitor PPHSN development, the following meetings are organised
by the section (in some cases in cooperation with partners):
(a) PPHSN Coordinating Body meetings:
Typically held once a year with all Coordinating Body
(b) PPHSN regional or sub-regional meetings:
Held approximately every two years for EpiNet
team (or equivalent) members (usually the focal points) and/or other decision makers from
ministries and departments of health active in the area of communicable
disease surveillance and response.
is an e-mail (and fax) listserver for a network of health practitioners
interested or working in the Pacific Islands, which allows rapid overall
communication (and makes possible ‘Early Warnings’) regarding epidemic
threats; PacNet consequently makes it possible to raise awareness and
preparedness levels in the region. It also gives access to resources,
is used as a communication tool restricted to selected health professionals
from Ministries and Departments of Health (usually decision makers) and
PPHSN Coordinating Body members. It is a possible alternative to PacNet in
the very early stages of outbreaks, when information is often sensitive and
confidential (i.e. not yet confirmed and/or an adequate public health
response has not yet been brought about).
was created for the development of LabNet, the public health laboratory
network, and includes laboratory health professionals from the region, as
well as the Coordinating Body members. The list is used to share
practitioners can subscribe to PacNet or PacNet-Lab, by sending an e-mail
email@example.com. Health practitioners need
permission of their Health Director and of the SPC Section to subscribe to
The EpiNet-Announcement list was also created to
facilitate the communication with EpiNet team members only.
the PPHSN, the section aims at setting up a sustainable funding mechanism
for outbreak-related assistance in the region. In the meantime, depending on
funding availability, the section tries to answer to small funding requests
from the PICTs in emergency response situations due to communicable disease
the bulletin of the PPHSN, is published by the
section three to four times each year. Articles (typically by health
professionals from the region) address public health surveillance and
communicable disease control. Hard copies of Inform’Action are sent
to all Ministries and Departments of Health, including all EpiNet teams (or
equivalent), PacNet members
and to PPHSN
allied bodies. Other publications include the Monograph on
Public Health Surveillance in the Pacific and the issue of the Pacific
Health Dialog on Telehealth.
All publications are available in electronic format on the PPHSN website, and on request.
The websites (see above) are also important information sources (especially,
the PPHSN website and the Distance Education in Health website).
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