26 Nov 2014

Pacific health security a challenge says WHO

6:09 pm on 26 November 2014

The World Health Organisation says arboviruses and the threat of Ebola are the two top priorities challenging public health services in the Pacific Region.

Dr Eric Nilles says current concerns about Ebola have galvanised Pacific nations to focus on health security.

He says in addition, the wave of mosquito borne illnesses including dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus over the last two years is causing significant health issues and straining many public health departments.

"We predict that we will probably continue to see this wave for the next one to two years. And then of course there is international global concern and threat of Ebola which is a high concern for all countries globally and similarly a high concern for Pacific Island countries."

Dr Nilles says a Pacific wide meeting on implementing international health regulations being held in Fiji this week is a timely opportunity for countries to review plans and preparations for managing emerging infectious diseases.