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Network Meeting Targets Outbreak-Prone Diseases

Network Meeting Targets Outbreak-Prone Diseases
From left: New Zeland Ministry of Health principal adviser, communicable diseases Dr Tom Kiedrzynski, Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar and World Health Organisation representative for the South Pacific director Pacific Technical Support Dr Corinne Capuano at Novotel Suva Lami Bay on April 19, 2017. Photo: Ministry of Health and Medical Services
April 20
11:02 2017

Outbreak-prone diseases affecting the Pacific region are dengue, measles, rubella, influenza, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, cholera, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and sexually transmissible infections.

This was revealed by the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Rosy Akbar during the opening ceremony of 2017 Regional Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) meeting at the Convention Centre at Novotel Suva Lami Bay yesterday.

She said the network was set up to target communicable diseases with a special focus on outbreak-prone diseases that affect the Pacific region.

“That list was subsequently altered to include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which created considerable concern in the early years of the present century.

“The World Health Organisation declared SARS to be contained in July 2003 and there have been no cases reported since 2004, is testament to the effectiveness of co-ordinated surveillance and response, which is the core business of the network,” Ms Akbar said.

She said the need for vigilance remains as the horrors of ebola and threat of zika virus are still fresh in our memories.

“We have advocated for the Network in numerous forums and have supported its co-ordinating body.

“We have contributed to its efforts to build capacity in laboratory services, building on the expertise of our own Level 2 laboratory at Mataika House here in Suva we will continue to provide support in those and other areas as and when the need arises.

“I can confirm that Fiji will remain, a firm friend of the Network,” Ms Akbar said.

World Health Organisation representative for the South Pacific, director for Pacific Technical Support Dr Corinne Capuano, said the Stop the Bite campaign was launched to control and prevent further spread of disease through community mobilisation.

“Clean up campaigns, focal spraying of areas reporting positive cases and mosquito bite avoidance are some examples.

“We are currently facing Dengue type two epidemics that is affecting the central and western divisions predominantly with real risk for dengue hemorrhagic fever,” Dr Capuano said.

22 countries are part of the four-day meeting.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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