SPC has new strategy for Pacific public health services
New approach to be taken to Pacific public health activities by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community to embrace a new public health strategy called 'Healthy Island - Healthy People'.
On Wednesday the strategy was endorsed by the SPC's governing body, the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations.
The SPC's director of health, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, says the new scheme aims to give the regional organisation a sharper focus in deal with major health issues in the regions.
COLIN TUKUITONGA: Public health in the region is, of course, a crowded place - international organisations, NGOs and so on. And it's really important for SPC to identify where it can be most useful in terms of support for the country. And that really is what the new strategy is about - to identify more clearly what SPC's contribution should be.
DON WISEMAN: So at this point in time do you know where you can be more useful?
CT: Oh, absolutely. Three areas. Obviously, NCDs is a big one. The second one is around sexually transmitted infections and the third one is around continuing surveillance of outbreaks such as dengue and so on. You might say 'Well, they're the same old things'. That's true, but it's been trying to identify where we can have the most value. For example, if you take sexually transmitted infections there's been these dire predictions that the Pacific will be decimated by HIV Aids over the last 10, 20 years. The reality is that in fact HIV/AIDS in the Pacific region is what is generally regarded as low-prevalence, with the exception, of course, of one or two countries. But on the other hand sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, is a real problem and we need ot do more work in that area, working with countries to try and reduce the prevalence of chlamydia. Perhaps less effort directly on HIV/AIDS. These things go together, of course.
DW: In terms of what the SPC itself would do, is it advice or is it more hands-on?
CT: Not hands-on at all. We just couldn't sustain everything we do if we tried to do things for people. Our role is firstly to provide the technical and scientific information. This type of intervention works. Those ones don't. So to provide that level of information and evidence and support for countries, and alongside that provide the training and the tools so that the island members can do their own thing in the future. The jargon, I guess, is 'capacity building', where you are really looking to transfer knowledge and expertise from SPC experts to their counterparts. And it does work both ways, of course. We learn good examples from some of the islands that we try and share with. But definitely given the resource situation we just don't have the money or the people to be doing things for people, with the exception of very small islands where the capacity is very limited, in which case we might do a bit more hands-on than we would otherwise normally.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: