Surveillance & Response
Dengue fever situation in the Pacific Islands countries and
territories, 30 September 2008
Provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling in TB clinics in
Progress of the lab-based influenza surveillance project
Report on 18 months of biological surveillance of influenza in
Wallis and Futuna
Improvements in infection control at Colonial War Memorial
Hospital in Fiji
Building infection control capacities in the Pacific Islands –
Feedback from Vanuatu, Nauru and Kiribati
Margaret Leong, Christelle Lepers, Leias Obed,
Gano Mwareow and Helen Murdoch
Meetings & Training
Recommendations from the 14th meeting of the PPHSN
4th PIPS Workshop summary report
Second Pacific WHO Global salmonella surveillance training course in
Papua New Guinea
James Wangi, Christelle Lepers
New WHO staff
New library for Yap State Hospital
New SPC staff
– List of selected articles published in
the first 29 issues of Inform'ACTION (Classified according to
disease and other subjects) > (HTML
with links to each article)
Does Inform’ACTION fulfil its mission?
Sharing information, experience,
resources and means is the backbone of PPHSN, which is aimed at
improving public health surveillance and response in the Pacific
Island region. But such sharing cannot exist without effective
Inform’ACTION was created to fulfil this
function together with PacNet (a network-wide email list for alerts
and communication). Ten years have gone by since the first issue of
Inform’ACTION was published in July 1998. From time to time, we
receive feedback on the bulletin, but we believe that a global
review is needed to make sure that this communication tool really
benefits PPHSN members, especially the core members of the network,
the Ministries/Departments of Health of Pacific Island countries and
territories (PICTs), and all other members and partners.
First, to facilitate the review process,
we have put together a supplement with a selection of articles
published in the 29 issues. It provides a good overview of the type
of information available through the bulletin. Dengue fever has been
the main topic of discussion, with 37
stories from the PICTs. The other eight
communicable diseases specifically targeted by PPHSN (measles,
rubella, influenza, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, cholera, SARS and
HIV/STIs) were also well covered. But as you know, PPHSN does not
restrict its focus to only these diseases, as the selected articles
show. Information on 14 other diseases,
including emerging diseases in the region such as the Zika virus
or brucellosis, was also published in Inform’ACTION.
Secondly, we have improved the
accessibility of electronic versions of the bulletin on the
internet. Each article can be downloaded separately in PDF format
(even the articles from the first nine issues). They are listed in a
content management system to facilitate searching and
downloading (see details at the end of the supplement).
Thirdly, we have prepared a
questionnaire so that all subscribers and on-line readers can
evaluate the function, content, format and usefulness of the
bulletin. You can either fill in the hard copy attached to the
bulletin or the electronic version available on line.
have created a
forum to facilitate discussion about the bulletin
(see details in the supplement)..
The present bulletin covers a number of subjects from the current
Pacific epidemic scene. The dengue fever situation in the region is
alarming (see summary on page 3) with the
re-introduction of the DEN-4 serotype,
which has not circulated in the region since 1995, and then in only
three PICTs according to our records. The previous
big regional outbreak of DEN-4
occurred in 1979–80 and affected at least 11 PICTs.
Low numbers of TB patients co-infected
with HIV have been reported so far in PICTs, but TB-HIV co-infection
is an emerging threat says Dr Axel Wiegandt.
The progress of lab-based influenza
surveillance in the region is also presented and Dr Jean-François
Yvon shares with us Wallis and Futuna’s experience in this regard.
Major improvements to infection control
procedures have been made in the last months in a number of PICTs,
as described by Miriama Vakaloloma from Fiji Islands, Leias Obed
from Vanuatu, Gano Mwareow from Nauru and Helen Murdoch from
Outcomes and recommendations from three
important meetings, the 14th PPHSN Coordinating Body Meeting, the
4th PIPS Workshop and the 2nd Pacific WHO Global Salmonella
Surveillance (GSS) Training Workshop, which
took place in the first semester of this year, are also summarised
in the bulletin. Our colleague, Marina Pulu from Niue, gives us her
point of view on the GSS workshop.
The In Brief section introduces Dr Boris
Pavlin from WHO, Jennifer Fischer and Salanieta
Elbourne from SPC. This section also has good news about the
new medical library at Yap Hospital, which replaces the one
destroyed in Typhoon Sudal in 2004.
We hope you will enjoy reading these
articles as much as we did when we received them. We sincerely thank
our many contributors for their feedback and stories.
From a personal point of view, I would
like to tell you how much I love this job. Dedication, modesty and
generosity are common qualities shared by many health professionals
in the region and this is certainly what makes PPHSN so special and
renowned on the international scene!
Let’s keep the momentum going and work
together to improve PPHSN services. We are looking forward to
receiving your feedback, ideas and contributions to make sure that
Inform’ACTION fulfils its mission and meets your needs and
expectations. We will concentrate on PacNet in the next issue.
With our warmest regards,
on behalf of the editorial team