2013: Pacific year in review

Post-disaster disease outbreak surveillance

On 6 February 2013, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake set off a tsunami that struck the coast of Solomon Islands, which posed special challenges due to the remoteness of the location. WHO worked with the Ministry of Health to develop an early-warning disease surveillance system to identify any post-disaster communicable disease outbreaks.

Reducing salt to control blood pressure

The World Health Day theme for 2013 was “Control your blood pressure.” In the Pacific, WHO supported Pacific islands to develop and implement salt reduction actions in an effort to help reduce blood pressure. Actions included social marketing campaigns as well as community-based skill development sessions such as gardening and cooking.

Strengthening health systems through primary care

The Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions (PEN) has been initiated in ten countries across the Pacific. PEN helps to address the NCD crisis by strengthening health systems in primary health care settings, including imporving human resources for health, health information systems, medicines and new technology. Patients at risk for a cardiovascular event are then identified and provided appropriate care.

Tenth Pacific Health Ministers Meeting, Apia Samoa (July 2103)

The meeting focused on action to continue moving towards the Healthy Islands vision. The Ministers adopted the Apia Communiqué, which includes a range of actions such as the declaration of a goal of a Tobacco-Free Pacific by 2025 and a recommendation to add NCDs, mental health and neglected tropical diseases to the UN-proposed goals and targets for the post-2015 agenda.

Fifth Pacific Noncommunicable disease forum

Noncommunicable disease (NCD) representatives from around the Pacific participated in the Fifth Pacific NCD Forum: Political Commitment to Resilient Action. They identified context-adaptable actions to help achieve the recent commitments established by Pacific Health Ministers, which included adoption of the Tobacco Free Pacific 2025 goal, a call to establish salt targets, and to implement the Package of Essential NCD Interventions.