Cook Islands enhances its ability to respond to avian and pandemic influenza threats

ImageA series of workshops on infection control and exercises to test avian and pandemic influenza preparedness just took place in Rarotonga from Wednesday 23 July to Friday 1 August 2008. These initiatives aim to increase Cook Islands’ readiness for avian and pandemic influenza events and other threats of infectious diseases.

‘The Pacific Islands, including the Cook Islands, are at risk of avian and pandemic influenza, like other parts of the world,’ says Dr Roro Daniel, Secretary of Health, Cook Islands. ‘Considering the limited resources shared by most Pacific Island countries and territories, it is critical that we test components of our pandemic preparedness plan and refine our capacity to effectively respond to these threats.’


News on the Round 7 Global Fund Pacific Islands multi-country HIV and tuberculosis proposals

ImageIn November 2007, the board of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) approved the Round 7 Pacific Islands multi-country HIV and tuberculosis proposals.

The five-year proposals have a value of USD 25.3 million (HIV) and USD 13.3 million (TB). In accordance with normal policy, the Board initially approved a ceiling of funding for the first two years (Phase I) of each proposal at values of USD 10.7 million and USD 5.68 million respectively, subject to grant negotiations.

Fighting avian influenza requires information, communication and thinking outside the box

Image‘Avian influenza outbreak, pandemic preparedness and influenza pandemic are now commonly used terms in the Pacific Islands region. But do our people fully understand what they mean? Are they aware of the potential implications for them if influenza pandemics invade our shores? Are the people who are working in all sectors of government, the private sector, civil society and communities well informed about influenza pandemics? And, most importantly, do they understand the roles they may need to play if there is an outbreak in any of the countries or territories in the region?’

For Dr Jimmie Rodgers, SPC's Director General: ‘The answers to these questions and others will provide some idea of whether or not the region is fully informed and prepared for such an eventuality.’


Chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing and treatment pilot in the Cook Islands

ImagePeople living in the Cook Islands will now be able to access simple testing and treatment for chlamydia, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that, if left untreated, can lead to increased risk of infertility or early miscarriage.

The Cook Islands Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health, with support from SPC’s HIV & STI Section and Public Health Surveillance & Communicable Disease Control (PHS&CDC) Section and with funding from the Asian Development Bank, is participating in a 12-month pilot programme to enable access to testing and treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Testing and treatment have become much simpler and more affordable in recent years with the availability of more accurate tests that can be used on urine samples, and single-dose antibiotic treatment.

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Joint approach to supporting adolescent health and development

ImageRepresentatives from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reaffirmed their continued support for adolescent health and development in Pacific countries and territories when they met at the UNFPA office in Suva on 28 March 2008 to sign the 2008 Project Agreement. The agreement was signed by the heads of the three organisations as a transition to the longer programme cycle for 2009–2012. 

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PHP takes part in developing FSM/SPC Joint Country Strategy

ImageLast month, four staff of the Public Health Programme, Dr Thierry Jubeau, Dr Rufina Latu, Dr Tom Kiedrzynski and Dr Viliami Puloka, took part in a round of consultations held between the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and SPC, aimed at developing a joint country strategy.

The strategy will outline FSM’s development priorities and the services that SPC can provide in response over the next five years. These services cover areas such as fisheries and maritime issues, public health, land resources, statistics and demography, and human development (youth, gender, culture).

Read more on the Joint Country Strategy...

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