Outputs of the EpiNet workshops

The three EpiNet sub-regional workshops, jointly funded and organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and held between December 2001 and March 2002, were very productive. Altogether, some 70 public health professionals from the national EpiNet teams and from the PPHSN Coordinating Body, advised by specialists, worked on the resources required to set up a Pacific-wide co-ordinated action system for epidemic response.

The results obtained are positive, as the long list of recommendations shows! Confirmation of this also came from the participants themselves.

EpiNet Workshop I

This first workshop, for the Micronesian sub-region, took place in December 2001 in Guam, where 21 participants focused on two of the six diseases under special surveillance by PPHSN: cholera and leptospirosis.

EpiNet Workshop II

The second workshop, for the Melanesian sub-region and the French-speaking countries and territories, took place at SPC headquarters in Nouméa from 4 to 8 March 2002. Its focus was dengue fever and influenza control. It assembled 20 members of the EpiNet teams from the Fiji Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna, together with three participants from Nauru and Palau who had not been able to take part in the first workshop.

New Caledonia was duly represented and made a major contribution. In addition to the four senior officials and technicians from the local public health service who took part in the discussions with their Pacific Island counterparts, two virus specialists from the Institut Pasteur de Nouvelle-Calédonie assisted their WHO and SPC colleagues in running the workshop and provided their up-to-date expertise in influenza and dengue fever surveillance and control.

EpiNet Workshop III

The third and last workshop in the series took place in Apia, Samoa from 18 to 22 March. It brought together some 21 members of EpiNet teams from the Polynesian sub-region, i.e. American Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu, as well as one participant from Fiji who had been unable to attend the workshop in Nouméa. It focused on the last two of the six diseases targeted by the PPHSN: typhoid and measles.