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Strengthening influenza surveillance in the Pacific








A workshop aimed at reviewing and strengthening current influenza surveillance systems in the Pacific Island region was held in Fiji in September 2011.

Outbreaks of influenza can occur at any time of the year in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), with the continual movement of people in and out of the region. The disease can also spread easily between PICTs, as demonstrated during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

‘We try to make sure that all PICTs, including the most remote islands, can send samples for testing to laboratories for detection and identification of influenza viruses,’ said Salanieta Elbourne, Laboratory Specialist at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

New staff

portrait-yvan-souares-02.jpgDr. Yvan Souarès was recently appointed Manager of SPC’s Public Health Division’s Disease Control, Surveillance and
Research Unit. He is very familiar with the region since he served as SPC Epidemiologist from 1993 to 2002. He is also
one of the founders of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN).

In his new role, and on behalf of the PPHSN Coordinating Body Secretariat, Dr Souarès intends to make PPHSN a key instrument for strengthening ties with SPC’s PICT members, Coordination Body partner members and network associates. He will put both his experience and convictions to work for PPHSN, by placing the coordination, effectiveness and sustainability of services to the PICTs at
the very heart of his new duties.

33rd edition of Inform'ACTION

- H1N1 influenza vaccination campaign in American Samoa,
- Diarrhoeal disease outbreak investigation in Guadalcanal and Honiara Provinces
- Success and lessons learned from DDM training in Solomon Islands
- Fiji sharpens skills on vector mosquito identification, surveillance and control
- Training/EpiNet team capacity building on the agenda of the 17th PPHSN Coordinating Body meeting
- Regional Workshop LabNet 2010 promoting the ‘One Health’ approach
- Post-pandemic H1N1 2009 message from PRIPPP
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Fiji Ministry of Health staff sharpens its skills in vector mosquito surveillance

ImageFiji Islands hosted an entomology training course (20 to 24 September) to enhance identification, surveillance and control of vector mosquitoes (those that can transmit diseases) in the country with the support of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pasteur Institute of New Caledonia (IPNC). The training was supported by financial assistance from the French Agency for Development.

Twenty-five Ministry of Health participants from all over Fiji Islands took part in the five-day course training to sharpen their skills to identify and monitor the activity and density of disease vector mosquitoes, to address two priority mosquito borne diseases in Fiji: dengue fever and filariasis.

Regional Workshop "LabNet 2010"


A major gathering of Pacific human and animal health laboratory professionals took place from 1 to 4 November 2010 in Suva, Fiji Islands to assess current laboratory testing and specimen shipment procedures in relation to identifying and controlling priority epidemic diseases such as dengue fever, influenza, typhoid fever and cholera.

The 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 reminded us how easily epidemic diseases can spread from country to country, including in the Pacific. It is very important for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to have access to laboratory tools to detect epidemic diseases quickly in order to minimise their health and socioeconomic impacts.

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