23 Sep 2013

Challenges remain for Pacific public health laboratory network

3:03 pm on 23 September 2013

The public health laboratory network, LabNet, says there has been considerable progress in the development of Pacific lab services in recent years but challenges remain.

About 60 representatives of LabNet member countries and organisations have been meeting in New Caledonia to review the network whoch was set up by the World Health Organisation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in 2000.

The Leader of the Public Health Laboratory Strenghtening Team at the SPC, Salanieta Elbourne, says LabNet is pleased with how far it has come.

But she says there's room for improvement in the surveillance of illnesses throughout the Pacific, the quality of lab management and collaboration between animal and human health labs.

"The sizes of our countries vary, and likewise with the human resource in the laboratories. We range from a one man lab to over a 100 man lab. So the issue we want to address is the emerging and urgent needs, and also allowing progress when there's no capacity, referring the samples both in human and animal health labs."

Salanieta Elbourne.of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community