PPHSN development and Tonga Meeting of Ministers of Health
Although the focus of the sixth Meeting of Ministers of Health for the Pacific Island Countries was not on communicable diseases, the development of the PPHSN was presented and discussed with the ministers of health.
The meeting, jointly organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), took place in Tonga from 10 to 13 March 2003. The agenda included the following subjects: progress in implementation of the Madang Commitment Towards Healthy Islands, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases, diet, physical activity and health, tobacco free initiative, mental health, environmental health and HIV/AIDS in the Pacific.
Communicable diseases surveillance and response were not included on the agenda. Nevertheless, a summary of the progress made and also the constraints encountered in developing the PPHSN since 2001 was included in the working paper entitled “Progess made in the implementation of the Madang Commitment Towards Healthy Islands”.
In view of the importance of the constraints and the issues addressed by the EpiNet members and also the PPHSN Coordinating Body (PPHSN-CB) members during the EpiNet sub-regional meetings and the PPHSN-CB 8 meeting in 2002, a special paper was also prepared for the occasion. This paper, entitled “Development of the PPHSN — request for support”, was distributed to all the ministers of health before a special lunch organised by SPC. Dr Tom Kiedrzynski prepared and presented this paper on behalf of the PPHSN-CB Focal Point. The issues and requests expressed in the paper were well received by the ministers of health, with two resulting recommendations supporting the PPHSN.
A summary of the final report of this meeting will be presented in the next issue of Inform’ACTION.