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The Pacific Public Health Surveillance Working Group, given its mandate by the Fifteenth Regional Conference of Heads of Health Services in Noumea, prepared the ground for PPHSN.
1998-2001 Two series of sub-regional training sessions in public health surveillance and the use of Epi Info 6 were organised by SPC.
In March 1999, the PPHSN work was acknowledged and further encouraged by both the Sixteenth Regional Conference of Heads of Health Services (16 March) and the Meeting of the Ministers & Directors of Health for the Pacific Island Countries (18-19 March), held back to back in Koror, Republic of Palau.
In March 2001, PPHSN achievements were recognised at the Pacific Island Ministers and Directors of Health Meeting in Madang, Papua New Guinea, and the draft strategic plan initiated by the PPHSN Coordinating Body was endorsed for further development. The setup of national EpiNet response teams was proposed by WHO and endorsed by the meeting.
Dec 2001-Mar 2002 Sub-regional EpiNet workshops I, II and III were held in Guam, New Caledonia and Samoa, with draft surveillance and response guidelines developed for the six priority epidemic diseases of PPHSN and recommendations written for Pacific organisation, collaboration and communication in this area.
At the Pacific Island Ministers of Health Meeting held in Nukualofa, Tonga, in March 2003, it was again acknowledged that the PPHSN continued to play an essential public health role in the region, and the importance of strengthening the capacity of the PPHSN-CB and the CB focal point at SPC was recognised.
At the Pacific Island Ministers of Health Meeting held in Samoa in March 2005, surveillance and response were discussed in the framework of the PPHSN, especially regarding the role the network should play with regards to the implementation of the new International Health Regulations (IHR), pandemic influenza preparedness and dengue control.
At the Ministerial meeting held in Vanuatu in March 2007, PPHSN and its services were mentioned as existing and useful mechanisms for supplementing and strengthening surveillance and response capacities in the PICTs and building core capacities for IHR.
At the eighth biennial Meeting of Pacific Island Ministers held in Madang in July 2009, it was recognised that PPHSN continued to play an integral role in international collaboration and communication and thus strengthens the region’s IHR capabilities. It was also mentioned that PacNet (together with PacNet-restricted) list played a crucial role in the dissemination of updates and guidance and discussion of response options and priorities as the new A(H1N1) pandemic developed.
At the ninth Ministerial Meeting, held in Honiara in June 2011, it was recommended that PPHSN, including the Pacific Syndromic Surveillance System, and other existing coordination and capacity-building mechanisms (PHIN and PIHOA) should be fully used to strengthen both in-country and regional surveillance and response.
At the Tenth Pacific Health Ministers Meeting that took place in Apia, Samoa, in July 2013, it was acknowledged that PPHSN serves as a coordinating mechanism to build capacity and provide expertise in outbreak surveillance and response across the Pacific.
At the Eleventh Pacific Health Ministers Meeting held in Yanuca Island, Fiji, in April 2015, it was recommended to strengthen PPHSN for communicable disease surveillance in order to ensure reliable and timely data on key health indicators.
At the Fourth Heads of Health Meeting held in Suva, Fiji, in April 2016, the value of the work of PPHSN in alerting countries to outbreaks was acknowledged. The importance of surveillance in detecting outbreaks, including of previous unknown diseases in the region such as zika and chikungunya, was noted.
PPHSN work and progress over it first 20 years (1996-2016) were discussed and acknowledged at the 5th Heads of Health Meeting,held in Fiji in April 2017. The secretariat endorsed that PPHSN matters become a standing agenda item for the annual Heads of Health meeting.
An update on PPHSN work and progress was presented at the 6th Heads of Health Meeting, held in Fiji in April 2018.
The Seventh Heads of Health Meeting held in Fiji, in April 2019, agreed that the current annual meeting of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) will become the Directors of Public Health Meeting to provide a strong regional forum for strategic thinking on public health issues.
An update on the key milestones of PPHSN for its 25th anniversary was presented at the 13th Heads of Health Meeting, held virtually in September 2022.
Note: this list of events and activities is not exhaustive. A number of in-country activities have also been carried out in partnership under the PPHSN umbrella (but not always labelled as “PPHSN”).
Many thanks to all PPHSN members and partners for their labour of love and great contributions to the development of PPHSN services and achievements over the past 20 years:
PPHSN core members ‒ Ministries/Department of Health of the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories:
American SamoaCook IslandsFederated States of MicronesiaFijiFrench PolynesiaGuamKiribatiMarshall IslandsNauruNew CaledoniaNiueNorthern Mariana IslandsPalauPapua New GuineaPitcairn IslandsSamoaSolomon IslandsTokelauTongaTuvaluVanuatuWallis and Futuna
PPHSN allied members