WHO leads meeting to strengthen health security in the Pacific

20 NOV 2014, SUVA: Next week health leaders from 21 Pacific island countries and areas will meet in Nadi, Fiji to discuss progress in implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) in the Pacific. Preparedness to respond to the deadly Ebola virus, should the virus be imported into the Pacific region by a traveller returning for West Africa, will be a key item for discussion.

The Pacific island health leaders will be attending the Pacific Meeting on Implementation of the International Health Regulation (IHR). The IHR is a WHO-led legal framework between 196 countries. The Regulation provides the basis for international collaboration for the early detection, reporting and response of public health emergencies that may pose serious threats to global health.

?The risk of Ebola being imported into the Pacific is low, however possible, and as such we need to be prepared? Dr Liu Yunguo, WHO?s Director of Pacific Technical Support said. ?Ebola is obviously on all our minds now, but it is only one of a number of public health threats that will challenge the Pacific islands over the coming years. The aim of the IHR is to strengthen the fundamental ?building blocks? – such as surveillance systems and laboratory capacity ? of public health security that are required to be able to effectively respond to any threat that arises, whether it be common, such as dengue, or unexpected, such as Ebola? Dr Liu added.

Next week?s meeting brings together all the Pacific countries and areas to discuss, learn and share ideas with each other and with world experts in the field of infectious disease detection and prevention. Ultimately, this event will support IHR implementation in the Pacific and through this enhance health security across the Pacific and the globe.

The Pacific Meeting on Implementation of the International Health Regulation will be held in Nadi, Fiji from Monday, 24 to Wednesday, 26 November 2014.

More information contact Dr. Eric Nilles Emerging Disease Surveillance & Response Division of Pacific Technical Support World Health Organization Suva, Fiji
Phone: +679 323 4100
Email: nillese@wpro.who.int

MEDIA RELEASE.