20 November,2014 - 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 from West Africa, will be a key item for discussion.
3 November,2014 - When Sione was taken to Vaiola Hospital in Tonga, the victim of a stroke, his whole family was shocked – he is only 39 years old. Across the Pacific island countries, the number of patients with stroke, heart disease and hypertension is increasing, and the victims are younger and younger. The culprit is often salt, and this story describes how to reduce salt intake.
28 October 2014 (Honiara) - The National Referral Hospital and Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) compound in the Solomon Islands were declared tobacco, betel nut, and alcohol-free premises by MHMS. Tobacco, tobacco smoke, and betel nut contain chemicals that cause cancer; this ban is a step to reduce the rates of noncommunicable (non-infectious) diseases in Solomon Islands.
6 October 2014 – As the centre of village life in Kiribati, maneaba, or meeting houses, are leading by example. Village elders have become champions for tobacco control by declaring their maneaba tobacco free areas to protect community health from the dangers of tobacco smoke. Gifting tobacco when visiting the maneaba is no longer the norm. Instead, visitors give the gift of health with tokens such as sports equipment.
Highlights from WHO
WHO’s first Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer reveals that drowning claims the lives of 372 000 people each year and is among the 10 leading causes of death for children and young people in every region.
The number of deaths from measles increased from an estimated 122 000 in 2012 to 145 700 in 2013, according to new data. However, the estimated number of measles deaths in 2013 still represents a 75% decline in mortality since 2000, but it is significantly below the target of a 95% reduction in deaths between 2000 and 2015.
A major new series on health and ageing, published in "The Lancet", warns that unless health systems find effective strategies to address the problems faced by an ageing world population, the growing burden of chronic disease will greatly affect the quality of life of older people. As people across the world live longer, soaring levels of chronic illness and diminished wellbeing are poised to become a major global public health challenge.
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years.