Surveillance & Response
- Dengue fever situation in the Pacific Islands countries and territories, 30 September 2008
- Provider-initiated HIV testing and counselling in TB clinics in the Pacific
- Progress of the lab-based influenza surveillance project
- Report on 18 months of biological surveillance of influenza in Wallis and Futuna
- Improvements in infection control at Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Fiji
- Building infection control capacities in the Pacific Islands – Feedback from Vanuatu, Nauru and Kiribati
Margaret Leong, Christelle Lepers, Leias Obed, Gano Mwareow and Helen Murdoch
Meetings & Training
- Recommendations from the 14th meeting of the PPHSN Coordinating Body
- 4th PIPS Workshop summary report
- Second Pacific WHO Global salmonella surveillance training course in Papua New Guinea
James Wangi, Christelle Lepers
- New WHO staff
- New library for Yap State Hospital
- New SPC staff
- Inform’ACTION Review – List of selected articles published in the first 29 issues of Inform’ACTION (Classified according to disease and other subjects)
Does Inform’ACTION fulfil its mission?
Sharing information, experience, resources and means is the backbone of PPHSN, which is aimed at improving public health surveillance and response in the Pacific Island region. But such sharing cannot exist without effective communication.
Inform’ACTION was created to fulfil this function together with PacNet (a network-wide email list for alerts and communication). Ten years have gone by since the first issue of Inform’ACTION was published in July 1998. From time to time, we receive feedback on the bulletin, but we believe that a global review is needed to make sure that this communication tool really benefits PPHSN members, especially the core members of the network, the Ministries/Departments of Health of Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), and all other members and partners.
First, to facilitate the review process, we have put together a supplement with a selection of articles published in the 29 issues. It provides a good overview of the type of information available through the bulletin. Dengue fever has been the main topic of discussion, with 37 stories from the PICTs. The other eight communicable diseases specifically targeted by PPHSN (measles, rubella, influenza, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, cholera, SARS and HIV/STIs) were also well covered. But as you know, PPHSN does not restrict its focus to only these diseases, as the selected articles show. Information on 14 other diseases, including emerging diseases in the region such as the Zika virus or brucellosis, was also published in Inform’ACTION.
Secondly, we have improved the accessibility of electronic versions of the bulletin on the internet. Each article can be downloaded separately in PDF format (even the articles from the first nine issues). They are listed in a content management system to facilitate searching and downloading (see details at the end of the supplement).
Thirdly, we have prepared a questionnaire so that all subscribers and on-line readers can evaluate the function, content, format and usefulness of the bulletin. You can either fill in the hard copy attached to the bulletin or the electronic version available on line.
Finally, we have created a forum to facilitate discussion about the bulletin (see details in the supplement)..
The present bulletin covers a number of subjects from the current Pacific epidemic scene. The dengue fever situation in the region is alarming (see summary on page 3) with the re-introduction of the DEN-4 serotype, which has not circulated in the region since 1995, and then in only three PICTs according to our records. The previous big regional outbreak of DEN-4 occurred in 1979–80 and affected at least 11 PICTs.
Low numbers of TB patients co-infected with HIV have been reported so far in PICTs, but TB-HIV co-infection is an emerging threat says Dr Axel Wiegandt.
The progress of lab-based influenza surveillance in the region is also presented and Dr Jean-François Yvon shares with us Wallis and Futuna’s experience in this regard.
Major improvements to infection control procedures have been made in the last months in a number of PICTs, as described by Miriama Vakaloloma from Fiji Islands, Leias Obed from Vanuatu, Gano Mwareow from Nauru and Helen Murdoch from Kiribati.
Outcomes and recommendations from three important meetings, the 14th PPHSN Coordinating Body Meeting, the 4th PIPS Workshop and the 2nd Pacific WHO Global Salmonella Surveillance (GSS) Training Workshop, which took place in the first semester of this year, are also summarised in the bulletin. Our colleague, Marina Pulu from Niue, gives us her point of view on the GSS workshop.
The In Brief section introduces Dr Boris Pavlin from WHO, Jennifer Fischer and Salanieta Elbourne from SPC. This section also has good news about the new medical library at Yap Hospital, which replaces the one destroyed in Typhoon Sudal in 2004.
We hope you will enjoy reading these articles as much as we did when we received them. We sincerely thank our many contributors for their feedback and stories.
From a personal point of view, I would like to tell you how much I love this job. Dedication, modesty and generosity are common qualities shared by many health professionals in the region and this is certainly what makes PPHSN so special and renowned on the international scene!
Let’s keep the momentum going and work together to improve PPHSN services. We are looking forward to receiving your feedback, ideas and contributions to make sure that Inform’ACTION fulfils its mission and meets your needs and expectations. We will concentrate on PacNet in the next issue.
With our warmest regards,
Christelle Lepers, on behalf of the editorial team