FSM participated in the Pacific Island Health Ministers Meeting to discuss shared regional health priorities
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): July 24, 2009 - The 8th meeting of the Pacific Island Health Ministers in Madang, Papua New Guinea, ended on July 9, 2009. The topics of discussion were few but they were the shared top priority issues of the region. They included the issues of Food Security and the Pacific Food Summit, Impact of Climate Change on the lives of the islanders, the Aid Effectiveness in the Pacific Islands, Pooled procurement of medicines and medical supplies, Pandemic Influenza H1N1, Maternal, child and adolescent health, Health system strengthening and primary health care, and Non-communicable disease (NCD) regional plans. On behalf of the Federated States of Micronesia, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Affairs, Dr. Vita Skilling attend the conference.
Food Security was the top priority health and economic issue discussed. FSM endorsed the plan for a regional Pacific Food Summit and plans to organize a FSM Food Summit in order to further educate the public about the current situation and share some of the recommendations of best practices to prepare and prevent the potential threat of food security in the islands. Having the National Food Summit will complement the on- going education and discussion with the leaders at the National and State governments on the issue and promote a stronger action in the same positive direction.
FSM also endorsed the Pacific Strategy for the Impacts of Climate Change in the region; the strengthening of primary care in the region by the proposed appropriate training of the most needed health resources and their appropriate placement for better distribution of skills at the community as well as the hospital levels; better coordination of aid by donor partners in the Pacific, including the assistance from the United States; improvement of maternal, child and adolescent health and recommended integration of MC/DH at all programs and disease management levels; a specific look at the problem of using ratios in data calculations on small populations to use in decision making and planning; specific problem of small isolated islands with small populations in the prevention and control of pandemic influenza, H1N1-WHO recommendations for border control and ILI management may be modified to the best practice that can fit the situation in the small island nations according to the availability of resources and system of care.
The FSM also endorsed the matrix for the prevention and control of NCD and acknowledged that the Northern Pacific may have started more than 5 years earlier on the steps in the plan by their own governments with other partners and will continue to further implement the plans and re-evaluate what has been done with the assistance from the current donor partners.
The FSM did not support the recommendation to adopt a new plan to endorse a new manager for foreign clinical services or medical mission in the islands and wished to see further details on the plan in order to complement the current systems of local enhancement and medical mission in the FSM. FSM also did not endorse the recommendation to pool procurement to be done through the Fiji Government for the following reasons: current experience of time delay resulting in expiration and near expiration of drugs and health supplies due to processing and shipping systems; this may exclude the current affordable sources such as Perry Point which may not be available to the whole region; there is no current agreement between the National Government and the States on how the payment will be arranged thus leaving gaps and risks on liability on the National Government and procurement barriers for the States; it does not give equal opportunity for other potential importers to participate in these potential big contracts from the donor agencies such as the current procurement system with ARV that is purchased by another donor.
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