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Strengthening disease surveillance and response in Tuvalu

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Strengthening disease

17 Oct 2017 | Funafuti

This week fifteen health workers from Tuvalu began the first of five modules for the Postgraduate Certificate in Field Epidemiology (PGCFE), a capacity development programme delivered by the Pacific Community (SPC) together with partners from the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN), including the World Health Organization and Hunter New England Local Health District in Australia.

During the training, participants will learn about the key requisites of a functional surveillance system and will perform self-assessments of the national surveillance systems in which they are involved.

With the PGCFE programme, they will gain new and strengthen previous skills in epidemiology science, including disease surveillance and outbreak response. They will also learn how to effectively collect, analyse, interpret, write situation reports and disseminate health data to inform interventions, decisions and policy development.

‘Tuvalu’s Ministry of Health is indebted to SPC for providing this important training for fifteen health workers from across a range of health professions,’ Tuvalu Health Planning and Management Adviser, Clare Whelan said. ‘the program will provide them with skills and knowledge that they can integrate into local practice culture in order to better maintain, strengthen and manage Tuvalu’s national surveillance system.’

The group of Tuvalu health workers, all based at Princess Margaret Hospital, work in a variety of areas, including surveillance, statistics, health promotion, laboratory, environmental health and clinical services.

‘This training is consistent with the Tuvalu Health Reform Strategy 2016-2019, which identified how the lack in quality data compilation and analysis frustrates health service reporting, planning, disease monitoring and surveillance. Development of minimum data sets for health service areas apart from the timely reporting and feedback to end users should be instituted”, Mrs Whelan added.

SPC Team Leader of Surveillance, Operational Research and Response, Onofre Edwin Merilles Jr. said the training is designed to improve epidemiology and surveillance knowledge and strengthen practical and technical skills of health workers while contributing to the improvement of health systems by addressing health information improvement needs of the Ministry of Health.

‘An added value of the PGCFE is that it is accredited by Fiji National University, thus health workers attending the training can become competent epidemiology technicians for the pacific region ”, Mr. Merilles Jr. added.

The first module on outbreak investigation and management is taking place this week (16-20 October) in Funafuti. Modules on public health surveillance and epidemiology will be organised in November, thanks to the partnership of SPC with other PPHSN members and the financial support of the German Development Bank (KfW).

The PGCFE programme consists of five modules in total. The last two modules will be organised in Tuvalu in 2018.

Media contacts

Christelle Lepers, SPC Surveillance Information and Communication Officer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 10:08  

Newsflash

The World GIS Day, celebrated on 14th November every year, offers everyone a chance to learn more about the fascinating field of Geographic Information Systems and how GIS is part of our everyday lives today. 

"Many young people are using GIS technology every day without even realising it. Many smart phone applications and social media tools combine data with maps to deliver unique services to consumers and Google Earth is known by most of us" advised Dr Wulf Killmann Team Leader of the SPC/GIZ project “Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region” and Dr Russell Howorth, Director of the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in a joint statement released to recognise World GIS Day.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) are a set of computer-based tools used to collect, combine and overlay information in the form of easily understood maps constructed from up-to-date satellite images and field data, while remote sensing is the collection of information about the earth from a distance.

In the Pacific, GIS is now being used as a tool to map landslides, detect vegetation change, map town boundaries, map impacts of sea level rise and many more. GIS is quite useful in the area of utility, transportation, and might become a tool to model climate change.

Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) of Secretariat of the Pacific Community is the leading agency for GIS in the Pacific and hold images and GIS Data for its member countries and territories. SOPAC's primary goal is to apply geoscientific data and technology to realise new opportunities for improving the livelihoods of Pacific communities. SOPAC's work in GIS and remote sensing is supported by many partners including the German Government through the SPC/GIZ, Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island region.

While GIS practitioners around the world celebrates this day by holding workshops, seminars. The SOPAC division of SPC, supported by many partners, is working tirelessly to organise a conference held each year for all Pacific island countries and territories.