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Nauru better equipped to face emerging infectious diseases
Written by Christelle Lepers   
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

ImageWith new stockpiles of personal protective equipment (PPE) for animal and human health-care workers, the Republic of Nauru is now better equipped to cope with emerging infectious diseases, especially avian and pandemic influenza.

‘The world is facing growing threats from emerging infectious diseases, which continue to pose serious public health threats in the Asia Pacific Region’, says Dr Si Thu Win Tin, Director of Public Health, Nauru Ministry of Health. ‘Nauru supports the recommendation that countries and areas in this region must be better prepared to meet these challenges to minimise their impact on public health and economic development and prevent the spread of diseases.’

‘We appreciate the regular technical support and materials that we receive from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), such as this PPE, which we can use to help combat these diseases.’

‘The Republic of Nauru is the first country to have received the PPE stockpiles,’ says Ms Elizabeth Wrench, Procurement and Logistics Officer at SPC. ‘Over 100 PPE stockpiles are currently being shipped to Pacific Island countries and territories covered by the Pacific Regional Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Project (PRIPPP).’

The stockpiles contain such items as masks, gowns, gloves, eye protection and disinfectant to protect frontline workers from exposure to infectious viruses that are spread by air and by contact with infected materials or surfaces. One of the bulk kits is designed for animal health workers and contains additional items such as tarpaulins and barrier tape to quarantine infected farms or premises.

Image ‘No amount of masks and gloves can replace good infection control practices, but these items are valuable tools in our armoury against the threat of infectious diseases such as avian and pandemic influenza,’ adds Ms Wrench.

SPC, through PRIPPP, has been helping countries prepare to respond to the threat of avian and pandemic influenza since 2006. Small stockpiles of antiviral drugs (Tamiflu) have also been provided and stored in each country and territory covered by the project. The project, which is funded by AusAID and NZAID, has a team of 15 animal health and human health experts working with SPC’s 22 member countries and territories, including Nauru.

‘Although Nauru faces many challenges in terms of health, and social and economic factors, the country is also taking action to prevent and control emerging diseases. An avian and pandemic influenza preparedness plan has been developed in Nauru with the involvement of health professionals and staff from non-health sectors and local government. Basic surveillance and response systems for responding to infectious diseases have also been put in place. An infection control workshop and regular training on using PPE materials have also been conducted with technical support from SPC,’ says Dr Si Thu Win Tin.

For more information, please contact: Jennie Fischer, PRIPPP Coordinator – Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Christelle Lepers, Surveillance Information Officer at SPC – Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it – Tel: (687) 26 01 81, or Dr Si Thu Win Tin, Director of Public Health, Nauru Ministry of Health – Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it – Tel.: (674) 444 3881

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 September 2008 )