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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

Welcome to the first edition of Snapshots for 2013!

It's taken us a while but we've finally been able to get something together to give you some understanding of the work being undertaken by the SPC/SOPAC Disaster Reduction Programme. These are just tidbits of a wider range of initiatives, the developments of which, we hope to share with our readers over the course of 2013.

The year has gotten off to a bang but unfortunately not the kind that we would have wanted. The disasters that affected both Samoa and Fiji as a result of Tropical Cyclone Evan in December required some immediate attention early in January. Through a collaborative effort with the SPC/SOPAC Water and Sanitation Programme, we deployed two staff to assist Samoa's post disaster needs assessment . In February, we provided similar assistance to Fiji (just coming to completion as this goes to print so watch this space for news on the Fiji post disaster needs assessment). We also, per the tireless contribution of Litea Biukoto, were able to support post disaster assessment work in the Solomon Islands which was impacted by an earthquake and  tsunami in early February.

So, there's been no let up this - made even more interesting since other activities continue as scheduled. Alas, such is the life of those of us in this line of work. We have a number of interesting stories in this edition. The Pacific Disaster Net has reached a significant milestone; our work in French Polynesia is making significant progress; the B Envelope project continues to add another success to its portfolio of activities, and more.

I hope you enjoy reading our stories and please 'stay tuned' for more as we progress in the coming months.

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Mosese Sikivou
Deputy Directory, Disaster Reduction Programme