Tag Archives: Pacific Islands Forum

Strengthening health information: a pressing need for the Pacific

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A research article just published by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease reiterates the pressing need to strengthen health information in the Pacific, particularly in relation to data analysis, use and sharing.

The article focused on the findings and implications for the Pacific Islands of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study.

The Pacific estimates in this important study show that lower respiratory infections, diabetes, and diarrhoea cause the greatest overall burden and mortality, and depression, low back pain, and anaemia cause the greatest disability in the region.

These results are likely to be a useful tool for assessing health priorities and informing policy and programming in the Pacific, but lead author, Dr Damian Hoy from SPC, states that ‘they need to be interpreted with some caution given that the estimates for the Pacific are derived from models built with very limited data’.

The authors explain in their paper that the greatest challenge in making the Pacific estimates is the paucity of data in the region ‘that have been analysed, synthesised and made publicly available’.

Pacific health ministers are aware of the need to strengthen data analysis and use in the region. In 2011, they recommended the ‘development of comprehensive training programmes to develop core competencies in ‘data techs’, ‘epi techs’ and epidemiologists’.

The article presents and discusses the work currently carried out by several networks and partners in the region to address this issue: the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) Data for Decision Making training course, various operational research courses and initiatives, the Brisbane Accord Group initiative to strengthen vital statistics systems and the Pacific Health Information Network training activities.

Another PPHSN training programme led by SPC, not listed in the article because it is still under development, focuses on Strengthening Health Interventions in the Pacific (SHIP). This new initiative received the support of Directors of Health at the end of April and it will be presented to Pacific Ministers of Health in July.

Altogether, the article stresses that all these initiatives have great potential to contribute to rapidly strengthening data analysis and ensuring that good quality health data are available in the region.

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How to respond to the impasse in Fiji?

Fiji’s coup leader-turned Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama may star on the international stage, where many diplomats take at face value his reformist claims, but his… Continue reading

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In conversation with Sir Mekere Morauta

Tess Newton Cain got a chance to meet up with Sir Mekere Morauta whilst he was in Port Vila recently. You can listen to the podcast of their conversation here and read the full transcript here. For a summary of what they discussed, read on… The main topic of conversation was the ongoing review of the Pacific Plan – Sir Mekere is the eminent person leading the review team. The […] Continue reading

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Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration: an empty commitment or a real opportunity?

In August of this year, Pacific Island Leaders met in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, for the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum Meeting. Whilst the media seemed incapable of focusing on anything but the implications of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s flying visit, the members did discuss a range of important issues, some of which have been noted on this blog. One subject that has seen very little discussion is the […] Continue reading

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Pacific and Caribbean integration: between a rock and a hard place?

This post is based on Bob Warner’s recently published Development Policy Discussion Paper, Caribbean integration – lessons for the Pacific. In a recent post, Matthew Dornan expressed concern that a recent damning review of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat may be ignored.  The Forum is not the only regional body contemplating critical reviews. A recent draft report by the Asian Development Bank Institute was quite critical of the Secretariat of […] Continue reading

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A brighter future for the Pacific: an interview with ADB Vice-President Stephen Groff (Part II)

Robin: Your remarks at the 2012 Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga expressed a great deal of optimism about the prospects for the region. You said that the Pacific was on the cusp of a new era. That’s not a view that’s universally held. What do you see as the major factors that are going to make a difference for the region? Stephen: There are a couple of points here. First, […] Continue reading

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Pacific representation at Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (20-22 June 2012)

A number of Pacific island nations will be represented at the upcoming Rio +20 UNCSD (20-22 June 2012). The names of Pacific representatives attending UNCSD and the sustainability strategies of some Pacific nations have been submitted to the Rio +20 … Continue reading

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