WHO activities to support the South Pacific
Apart from the workshop organised in Suva in April 2006, WHO is building on current on-going projects and helping countries identify priority areas of support to strengthen their implementation of DPAS.
1. National NCD Strategic Planning: countries without a national NCD strategy are supported to develop one with the inclusion of diet and physical activity components drawing from the global strategy
2. Health Promoting School: curriculum-based health promoting school initiatives are being carried out in Fiji, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Palau involving a review of school curriculum mainly in primary schools to incorporate nutrition, hygiene & sanitation and physical activity. These countries involved are encouraged to consider progressing them further into whole of school initiatives for maximum effectiveness.
3. Food-based Dietary Guideline: in collaboration with SPC, WHO emphasizes and strengthens the promotion of healthy dietary patterns through use of national food-based dietary guidelines. The current regional guidelines developed by SPC are being adopted by PICTs with relevant adaptations in the respective local context. WHO is also supporting training in countries for the use of the guidelines and planning in ways of communicating the guidelines to the public.
4. WHO-SPC Regional Guideline on Physical Activity: A regional Physical Activity guideline has been developed by WHO and SPC with technical collaboration by CPAH in Sydney, a WHO collaboration centre for Physical Activity. The guideline is to be disseminated to counties for their utilization similar global initiative championed by WHO Geneva. WHO together with SPC would be collaborating to finalise the guidelines and to support country training on its implementation.
5. Trade Reviews: Work has been carried out on reviewing trade and legislation in the Pacific that has an impact on diet and nutrition with the intention of establishing legal frameworks that would support strategies like food fortification and obesity prevention and control.
6. Healthy Workplace initiatives: WHO is currently supporting countries through their regular country budget to supply physical activity equipment for existing healthy workplace initiatives in Fiji, Tuvalu, and Marshal Islands.
7. Community Settings: continues to be an opportune setting for Diet & PA strategies and WHO is supporting Samoa and FSM who are piloting work in this area.
8. Health Promotion Foundation: This is being advocated for in the countries as a good mechanism for sustainable funding of Health Promotion activities. WHO is providing support to current work in French Polynesia, Fiji, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Future Activities Planned
9. Sub-regional training: as a recommendation from the workshop, sub-regional training is planned to be carried out subject to availability of funds in these areas.
A workshop on “Communication for Behavioural Impact (COMBI) was conducted by WHO for 13 countries in the Pacific and each country initiated a “COMBI” plan that forms the basis of further follow up in country.
- Physical Activity: Sub-regional training in the Pacific in close collaboration with SPC to improve baseline knowledge and skills on Physical Activity.
- Communication Strategy: this may be linked with training on physical activity and nutrition and should be country specific with a multi-year plan instead of just a ‘one-off’ training.
- Monitoring & Evaluation: specific training on this would be country specific and should include training on use of NCD statistical software usage e.g. Epi-Info