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Pacific Health Ministers agree on Bold plan

Pacific Health Ministers agree on Bold plan to deliver reproductive health supplies

Delegations from Commonwealth Pacific countries who met in Auckland this week to discuss the unique challenge of ensuring the availability of reproductive health supplies in the Pacific have agreed on a Pacific Plan of Action. This will ensure that immediate steps are taken to increase the availability of commodities to help prevent unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS infections. It will also ensure that by 2015, everyone in the region will have access to the widest range of reproductive health services and commodities.

This plan was agreed to by Ministers of Health from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Ministry representatives from Nuie, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu who have attended the three day meeting.

The meeting was organised by the Commonwealth Medical Association Trust, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the United Nations Population Fund, demonstrating the kind of effective partnerships that the Pacific Plan of Action will require if the challenges in the region are to be met.

Marianne Haselgrave, the Director of the Commonwealth Medical Association Trust, who initiated the meeting said the Plan of Action, which will be presented to the Pacific Minister’s meeting in Tonga in March, is a bold effort to meet the reproductive health needs of many more people in the region.

Also attending was Dr Gill Greer, the Executive Director of the Family Planning Association and she said: “The time has come to acknowledge the very real issues the Pacific faces in terms of escalating rates of HIV/AIDS and this Plan of Action sets a course by which to address the complex issues around accessing reproductive health supplies.

Issues to be addressed include ensuring the right supplies are in the right place at the right time and that means better planning will be needed.

Dr Greer said the plan is a stake in the ground for reproductive rights and the delegates at the meeting have committed to playing a leadership role.

The Ministers agreed that the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific must be urgently addressed. The Plan of Action calls on participating governments to ensure their cabinet colleagues and those from other Pacific countries acknowledge the importance of this issue and that each government puts in place a separate budget for reproductive health.

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