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Pacific Avian and Pandemic Influenza Taskforce to review the 2009 H1N1 experience

ImageThe 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic showed how important it is for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to have preparedness and response plans in place along with resources to implement them.

A three-day meeting of the Pacific Avian and Pandemic Influenza Taskforce (PAPITaF) just started today (Tuesday 25 May 2010) in Nadi, Fiji Islands, to examine the region’s responses to H1N1 and identify how pandemic preparedness and response plans can be improved.

Almost all PICTs were affected by the H1N1 pandemic influenza last year. Only Niue, Tokelau and Pitcairn Islands had no cases recorded. 

SPC provides water tests to PNG to help fight cholera outbreak

ImageOn Friday 08 January 2010, the Port Moresby office of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) provided 2220 water quality testing tablets and related supplies to Mr Enoch Posanai, Executive Manager of Public Health at the Papua New Guinea (PNG) National Department of Health, to help fight the cholera outbreak. 

These supplies will enable the National Department of Health to carry out more than 1700 water chlorination level tests and 500 water pH tests.

Contaminated water and food are the main routes of transmission of cholera, which continues to spread in PNG. National response teams have been doing water quality testing in the outbreak zones of the affected provinces since the outbreak started last year. These tests have assisted with the overall control efforts so far.

WHO and SPC donate personal protective equipment and Tamiflu to Fiji Ministry of Health
ImageThe World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) are supporting Fiji's response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, with financial help from Australia and New Zealand. 

During the past two weeks, WHO donated 157,000 capsules of Tamiflu to Fiji. Approximately 10,000 additional capsules have also been sent to Fiji by SPC. Pandemic H1N1 influenza is a mild illness in most persons; therefore WHO recommends giving Tamiflu only to patients with risk factors for severe influenza. These supplies provide Fiji with enough antiviral medication to treat approximately 2% of the population.
WHO/SPC response to influenza A (H1N1) threat in Pacific Islands region

ImageThe human influenza A (H1N1) outbreak is evolving rapidly. As of 12 May 2009, 30 countries have officially reported 5251 cases of the infection. Three countries on the rim of the Pacific Islands have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – New Zealand (7), Australia (1) and Hawaii (6)  – increasing the likelihood that the infection could spread to Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs)*.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) are working to support PICTs in responding quickly and efficiently to this public health threat. The priority is to ensure that countries’ surveillance systems are working, as well as their laboratory testing procedures to detect any suspected cases.

Inform'ACTION 30

ImageTitle: Let’s keep the momentum going!

This issue includes a number of valuable contributions from Fiji Islands, American Samoa and Cook Islands.
The results of the Inform’ACTION survey conducted towards the end of 2008/beginning of 2009 are also presented in this issue.
We wish to again thank the contributors to this issue and to apologise for the delay in producing it (due to several constraints).
To overcome these constraints for the next issue(s), we have decided  to release articles of particular interest early, in their original language, as soon as possible after review, editing and simple layout but before completion of the whole bulletin.

Consult the on line version.

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