Whole of government approach’ needed to address health challenges says SPC Director-General
Written by Christelle Lepers   
Friday, 08 July 2011

ImageWednesday 29 June 2011, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Honiara, Solomon Islands

Director-General of SPC Dr Jimmie Rodgers said long-term solutions to health challenges in the Pacific Island region require a dedicated ‘whole of government approach’ and ‘whole of community approach’.

Dr Rodgers explained that, with a whole of government approach, health ministers would find it easier to address the health challenges that each of their countries faces. ‘It will actually be government policy to direct the attention so that they will have a good health outcome,’ he said.

Dr Rodgers was speaking at a press conference at the Ninth Meeting of the Ministers of Health for Pacific Island Countries in Honiara. The biennial meeting is organised jointly by the World Health Organization and SPC.

He added that it is important to try to identify what health challenges are likely to emerge in the decades to come. ‘If you know what the challenges are, you can help the countries prepare for them,’ he said.

Dr Rodgers said the biggest health challenge for Pacific Island countries and territories today is a marked increase in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs are responsible for many deaths in the islands.

According to Dr Rodgers, infectious diseases will continue to be a high burden in some countries and territories. For others, the impact is lower: ‘We just need to be conscious that strategies within health now are working quite well and that we need to maintain them,’ he said.

The Honiara meeting will review progress on the implementation of recommendations of the Eighth Meeting of Pacific Ministers of Health held in Madang, Papua New Guinea in July 2009. The themes of the recommendations include food security, climate change, maternal and child health, strengthening health systems, primary health care, and HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

There has been progress in implementing recommendations from the Madang meeting. One notable achievement has been the convening of the Pacific Food Summit in Vanuatu in 2010 at which the Framework for Action on Food Security in the Pacificwas endorsed.However, several outstanding challenges remain. Notably, it is still necessary to address and strengthen the response to the double burden of diseases, especially NCDs, implement Pacific-specific solutions, use aid as effectively as possible and prepare thoroughly for the impact of climate change.

The Ministers of Health will also have the opportunity to discuss and address priority regional issues related to health.

For more information,contact Rita Narayan, Radio Producer, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (Tel: 677 7473358 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).


Last Updated ( Friday, 08 July 2011 )