26 May 2014

Pressing need to strengthen Pacific health information

10:16 am on 26 May 2014

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says there is a pressing need to strengthen health information in the region, to assess each countries priorities and inform better policies.

The acting public health division director, Yvan Souares, says the SPC used the World Health Organisation's Global Burden of Disease studies to see how Pacific health data was being interpreted.

Secretariat of the Pacific Community building

Secretariat of the Pacific Community building Photo: RNZ

Dr Souares says they found information had to be used with caution, as it lumped 23 countries of the region together.

He says Papua New Guinea has a much greater weight in the group because of its larger population.

"The data in Papua New Guinea are not necessarily of a much better quality than other islands, most of the data that is available is coming from PNG because of the numbers, then the profile, demography profile and health profile of PNG influences the results and the findings for the whole Oceania region."

Dr Souares says improvements need to be made to build each country's capacity, and at a regional level, in data analysis, use and sharing.