PACIFIC HEALTH WORKERS RECEIVE TRAINING IN DISEASE

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SECRETARIAT OF THE PACIFIC COMMUNITY (SPC) Noumea, New Caledonia Suva, Fiji Islands

NEWS RELEASE Noumea, New Caledonia May 18, 2000

SURVEILLANCE

A five-day training workshop on public health surveillance is being held this week at the SPC headquarter in Noumea, New Caledonia. Around fifteen participants from Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are attending this second session of a regional training program.

The agenda includes discussions on the principles and practice of public health surveillance with a main focus on communicable diseases control.

Participants are trained to epidemic investigations and to analyze epidemiological data. They learn how to exploit the Epi INFO software, which is frequently used in disease surveillance. At the end of this training workshop, they should be able to set up relevant health surveillance systems and undertake epidemic investigations.

Despite its importance in controlling diseases, public health surveillance is not enough publicized. In the Pacific region, where trade and tourist exchanges are numerous, communicable diseases like influenza, dengue fever or measles, can rapidly spread from one Pacific island to another, and thus threaten to become a regional epidemic.

Communicable disease surveillance systems have been implemented in all Pacific island countries and territories. However, all of them do not have efficient surveillance systems. To improve the communicable disease prevention and control, a regional training program has been initiated by SPC within the framework of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network.

The ultimate goal is to form a critical group of public health professionals who would share the same methods and tools.

With funding from the French and New Zealand governments and Taiwan, two similar training workshops in public health surveillance activities are scheduled to take place in June and September for English-speaking countries and territories. Altogether, around 100 health professionals will benefit from this regional training program.

For further information, please contact: Mina Vilayleck Surveillance Information Officer  Minav@spc.org.nc 

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