The European Union (EU) has provided EUR 3 million (FJD 7.2 million) to the Pacific Community (SPC) to strengthen health security in the Pacific.
The Public Health Surveillance Network Services to Strengthen Health Security in the Pacific project, which will be led by Pacific Community’s (SPC) Public Health Division, will support regional capacity for surveillance and epidemiology; laboratory services and systems; vector and disease surveillance and control; and risk communication.
The funding supports the implementation of the Pacific Health Ministers Pacific Health Security Coordination (PaHSeC) 2017-2022 plan, in recognition of the Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) vulnerability to public health risks and the pressing need to strengthen health security measures across the region.
While launching the project today, the EU Ambassador, H.E Sujiro Seam highlighted the importance of strengthening health security in the Pacific. He said, "Within the past few months we have all sadly been reminded that diseases continue to pose a very real risk to the population of the Pacific. The EU provided assistance to face the recent measles outbreak, but long term support is necessary to strengthen health systems. The EU is partnering with SPC through this project to strengthen health security in the Pacific by improving public health surveillance and response. This project is part of a larger EU initiative with a Pacific allocation of EUR 18 million. The EU recognizes that improvements in health also help reduce poverty and drive inclusive economic growth".
SPC’s Public Health Division, as the focal point of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) coordinating body, will provide technical advice and support to Health Ministries, to strengthen agreed health security priority areas.
SPC’s Director-General Stuart Minchin said, “We have a continuing threat of emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases. A recent example of this is the novel Coronavirus largely affecting China but posing a risk to other countries and regions. It is critical that the Pacific enhances regional and national health security by strengthening public health surveillance and response, and this funding will be instrumental in achieving that goal.”
The project will be implemented in collaboration with PPHSN partners alongside existing projects funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The overall objective of the action is to enhance health security in the Pacific by strengthening regional public health surveillance & response.
The expected outcomes are:
• Strengthened disease surveillance capacity in PICTs
• Improved laboratory quality management systems and microbiology capacity in PICTs
• Improved capacity to diagnose diseases under surveillance
• Improved vector surveillance & control in PICTs
• Strengthened risk communication in PICTs
Evlyn Mani, Communications and Information Officer, Public Health Division (PHD), Pacific Community (SPC) | evlynmspc.int
The Pacific Community has been supporting sustainable development in the Pacific, through science, knowledge and innovation since 1947. It is the principal intergovernmental organization in the region, owned and governed by its 26 member countries and territories.