12 December 2013 – Every dental assistant in American Samoa is now certified, thanks to a five-month diploma course sponsored through WHO’s Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN) in partnership with Pacific ministries of health. The programme’s success has sparked interest among dental assistants in the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Niue.
10 December 2013 -- Using a train-the-trainer approach, Filipino health professionals took part in a one-day workshop to learn how to teach others in their communities to provide psychological first aid to typhoon survivors. They learned how to recognize the signs of distress in survivors and how to apply proven methods that ease suffering – such as listening to people without pressuring them to talk, assessing their needs and concerns, helping them to meet basic needs.
MANILA, 6 December 2013 – WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo visited areas of the central Philippines that are recovering from Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Dr Shin accompanied Philippine Secretary of Health Dr Enrique Ona who leads the Government’s health response with assistance from WHO. “The determination and dedication of Filipino and foreign health workers caring for survivors, and of our teams on the ground supporting them, gives me confidence that this response will continue to deliver much-needed help,” Dr Shin says.
MANILA, 6 December 2013 – WHO has identified expanding essential health services, reviving clinics and hospitals, preventing disease and scaling up mental health services as the top priorities in the next phase of the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) response. From the outset of the disaster, WHO has been working side by side with the Philippine Department of Health to assess and address the life-saving needs of survivors and coordinate the emergency response. “Rebuilding the health system is going to be part and parcel of rebuilding lives and livelihoods in central Philippines,” says WHO Representative in the Philippines Dr Julie Hall.
Highlights from the Region
Using social media to inform about the response to Typhoon Haiyan
The WHO Representative Office in the Philippines has started using social media to inform about the health response to Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda), which devastated the central part of the country on 8 and 9 November. WHO is working closely with the Philippine Department of Health and other partners to coordinate the response, to provide emergency care and to ensure that the peoples' longer-term needs are met.
Controlling hepatitis B
In the WHO Western Pacific Region, the virus that causes hepatitis B is being brought under control, thanks to a vaccine that protects babies against infection. Three doses: That's all it takes to protect an infant for life, to prevent the liver cancer and cirrhosis that commonly result from hepatitis B, to allow every child to grow into healthy adulthood, to put hepatitis B in its place—permanently.
WHO fighters against malaria in the Western Pacific
In the WHO Western Pacific Region, malaria is in retreat. Over the last two decades, in the 10 countries where it remains endemic, cases have decreased by more than 71%, and deaths by nearly 86%. Nine of these countries have vowed to achieve the previously unimaginable—eliminate the disease. In May 2013, malaria experts from across the Region, and beyond, assembled at the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila to take stock and to plot ways forward. Among them were regional malaria advisers going back to 1990, and one for pharmaceuticals. An 11-minute video tells their story of malaria control in the Western Pacific.