25 Mar 2010

WHO says Pacific peoples can do more to contain disease

12:12 pm on 25 March 2010

The World Health Organisation says people in small Pacific island states can do more to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases.

Dr Chen Ken, the is the WHO representative for the Pacific, says the public has just as vital a role as clinicians and regional organisations in fighting outbreaks of communicable diseases.

He says common outbreaks include dengue, influenza and typhoid.

But he says simple steps can be taken daily to try and contain the spread of disease.

"We also need the public involved, personal hygiene, wash hands before you prepare the food, or after the toilet. And pay attention to the food safety and water safety, all these things will help us to control or to prevent the outbreak of the communicable diseases. This is just one step. Then surveillance allows early detection and a quick response."

Dr Chen Ken says the quicker authorities like the WHO are alerted to outbreaks, the faster the response can be to contain and combat it.

He is visiting Auckland for talks with other health officials from the Pacific region for talks on strengthening detection and response to outbreaks .