Health status of Pacific people improves: Dr Waqainabete

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

THE health status of the Pacific people has improved over the past 20 years, however, the progress has been slower compared with other parts of the world, says Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

While opening the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network (PPHSN) regional meeting in Nadi yesterday, he said there was a risk that the Pacific might have fallen behind in developing its health sector.

“The unifying theme of the Healthy Islands vision is quite relevant to our challenges today as it cuts across many sectors and stakeholders as we pursue to attain universal health coverage (UHC) for all,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“UHC is defined as a means of organising, delivering and financing health services in such a way that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them.

“It is intended to take the region in building an efficient and resilient health system, creating an affordable care and a system of financing healthcare that doesn’t impoverish users and transparency in tracking progress and achieving equity.”

The regional meeting included member countries from 22 Pacific Island nations.

The Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network is a voluntary network of countries and organisations dedicated to the promotion of public health surveillance and appropriate response to the health challenges of member countries and territories.

PPHSN was created in 1996 under the joint auspices of the Pacific Community, the World Health Organization.

The primal focus of PPHSN was communicable diseases especially those prone to outbreaks such as dengue fever.

It includes six support services to prevent and respond to outbreaks.

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