A long-term solution for public health challenges

Friday 9 May 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Noumea, New Caledonia – Pacific Directors of Health gave their backing last week to a comprehensive training initiative designed to develop essential national and regional competencies for the surveillance and response to current and future epidemics and other public health emergencies.

The initiative includes a new proposed training programme on Strengthening Health Interventions in the Pacific (SHIP) building on the guiding principle but significantly expanding the scope and outcomes of two existing courses: the Data for Decision Making (DDM) and the Operational Research courses.

‘SHIP is an innovative Pacific adaptation of the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) models that have been adopted in over 50 countries and regions around the globe’, said Dr Yvan Souarès, Acting Director of the Public Health Division at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

‘It builds on the principle “from work, at work, for work” and it is designed to address both the immediate and the long-term challenges and needs of Pacific Island countries and territories.

‘For example, trainees could immediately be mobilised to participate in on-site outbreak investigations and response, as well as informing and guiding policy-making to reduce tobacco use in islands’ populations.’

SHIP has been developed in response to Pacific Islands Health Ministers’ call in 2011 for increasing data literacy and usage and will be presented at the next Ministers of Health meeting in July to gather their support to the initiative.

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