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Regional workshop on communicable disease

Regional workshop on communicable disease

Noumea, Friday 28 July 2006 – Laboratory health professionals of the Pacific Public Health Laboratory Network (LabNet) will meet next week (Monday 31 July to Friday 4 August) to discuss lab-based surveillance activities for communicable diseases in the region. The meeting will be held at the Research and Development Institute (IRD) in Noumea.


The aims of this technical workshop organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) include assessing current lab testing and specimen shipment procedures in relation to identifying and controlling epidemic diseases such as dengue, influenza and HIV. The workshop will also focus on planning further development of the network, particularly for pandemic influenza preparedness.


Communicable diseases are a serious threat to public health in the Pacific Region. They are also of international importance as they can spread rapidly from country to country through air travel. The last dengue-1 epidemic, which started in 2000 and ended in 2004, spread to at least 16 Pacific Island countries and territories, affecting as much as 20 per cent of the population in some islands.

Launched in 2000 by SPC and the World Health Organization (WHO), LabNet is a service of the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network, which is aimed at improving communicable disease prevention and control in the 22 Pacific Island members of SPC.

The Pasteur Institute of New Caledonia plays a major role in the network, together with SPC and WHO.
The workshop will be attended by representatives from 21 Pacific Island countries and territories: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.
Technical experts from the Pasteur Institute of New Caledonia (IPNC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will assist SPC organisers, together with specialists from reference laboratories in Australia, New Zealand and USA, and the Pacific Paramedical Training Centre in New Zealand.
Financial assistance is being provided by the Asian Development Bank, France and the New Zealand Agency for International Development through the PREPARE project.
For more information, please contact:
Christelle Lepers, SPC Surveillance Information Officer.
Tel.: 26.01.81 or 26.20.00 (switchboard) or 84.28.37 – Fax: 26.38.18 - Email: christellel@spc.int

Ends

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