Scaling up public health surveillance in Vanuatu with data training


Epi-DDMOver 20 health professionals from all six provinces of Vanuatu are in Port-Vila this week to scale up public health surveillance with the Pacific Data for Decision-Making (DDM) training programme.

The week-long training is jointly organised by Vanuatu Ministry of Health and the Pacific Community (SPC) as part of the recovery activities in response to Cyclone Pam project funded by the German Development Bank (KfW).

The project covers four Pacific Island countries - Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu - following a EUR 6 million funding agreement between SPC and development bank KfW, on behalf of the Government of Germany.

Surveillance is a core public health activity which guides intervention based on the continuous review and analysis of occurrence of diseases with outbreak and emergency potential such as dengue fever or diabetes.

It involves the collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of large volumes of data and information originating from a variety of sources.

“This is the first ever training in public health surveillance organised in Vanuatu and it attracted a lot of participants. Clinical, public health and laboratory staffs from all our provinces are attending the training,” Officer in Charge of the Public Health Division of Vanuatu, Jean-Jacques Rory, said.

Two public health professionals from Tuvalu have also been invited to participate in the training session this week.

The programme consists of five modules on public health surveillance, disease outbreak investigations, introduction of epidemiology and field epidemiology, computing for public health practice and a field epidemiology project.

The first two modules of DDM will be conducted in Vanuatu with funding support from KfW and the Australian Aid funded Response and Analysis for Pacific Infectious Diseases (RAPID) project.

Three epidemiologists and one laboratory expert from SPC will conduct the courses in collaboration with colleagues from the World Health Organization.

“The Pacific DDM training programme is the result of great collaborative work between several epidemiologists and laboratory experts from countries and partner agencies of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network, ” SPC Acting Team Leader of Surveillance and Operational Research,  Onofre Edwin Merilles, Jr. said.

“Since August 2013, over 220 health workers around the region have commenced the programme, which is well received by participants,” Mr Merilles added.

DDM was revitalised in 2013 in response to a call for action in strengthening capacity in data analysis, surveillance and epidemiology from Pacific health ministers.

Media contacts:
Christelle Lepers, Surveillance Information and Communication Officer, SPC’s Public Health Division,  [email protected] or 687 26 01 81