1er International Forum Public Health Watch and Response in island territories

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Press Release – 06/13/2013

Winning bet for this 1st International Forum that leads to cooperative action to deal with epidemics


The 1st International Forum on health monitoring and vector control is a success for both organizers and participants. For the first time, actors of health surveillance in human and animal health of Pacific, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and French Mediterranean regions shared and exchanged on their practices and experiences of health threats for our populations. Positive results for this forum with proposals submitted during the closing ceremony.


“A unique opportunity to meet colleagues from other islands facing the same problems”, “a scientific level rarely equalled”, the reasons to gladden were not missing for some 300 participants of this international forum, which led to a first time meeting between health monitoring networks and actors involved in the response of epidemic and vector control.


The health problems specific to climate and islands context are points that the three islands regions have in common: Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean. The islands are vulnerable because of their isolation and the impact of an epidemic on the health of populations is often accompanied by consequences on the tourism economy, most of the islands, which rely heavily. These issues are also concerns metropolitan French regions, where the spread of viruses conveyed by mosquitoes appear.


For over a year, the organizers (Agence de Santé Océan Indien, Indian Ocean Commission, French Institute for Public Health Surveillance, with the support of the French Development Agency) worked on a rich and ambitious program. During those three days, 70 oral presentations and 60 posters presented have created the opportunity to discuss many topics, including: the One Health concept, combining a single monitoring on animal health and human health, the different forms of surveillance, early warning and response through the territories, the development of e-health tools, emerging diseases, including diseases transmitted from animals to humans, new challenges and opportunities in the field of vector control, etc.


Among the initiatives and projects that have been presented, some examples include:

 

  • Monitoring through tools using new technologies: monitoring via SMS to Madagascar, laboratory networks in Africa, computer applications used in large gathering of people in the Seychelles and New Caledonia and the organization of monitoring of emergency flagging in the Reunion Island.
  • Mobile and innovative technologies that will allow the individual to be an actor of his own health: the project “sentinel population” in the Reunion Island, SMS alerts issued by health professionals, taking pictures of an insect vector from a mobile phone and diffusion to the concerned experts.
  • The important role of laboratories in the confirmation of diagnosis with the involvement of quality control, support referral centres and the use of new methods of sample transport with the use of blotters.
  • New technologies of vector control increasingly innovative to fight against mosquitoes: the sterile insect technique developed in Reunion Island and the Indian Ocean, which first tests show very encouraging results, long-lasting Insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which in recent years have enabled a significant reduction of malaria cases, community mobilization programs in the fight against vectors, combining more conventional techniques entomologists to those of the social sciences and communication.

 

This forum provided an opportunity for participants to improve their knowledge through scientific presentations and confront their views with stakeholders. It was also an opportunity to focus with high-level experts on health alerts in progress (new coronavirus, H7N9 flu) and the management of emerging diseases. Participants also had the opportunity to meet their counterparts from others countries and island territories and develop a network of knowledge essential to their practices.


The gathering at such a forum allows the pooling of expertise and best practices, which can be disclaimed, adapted and enriched in different regions to allow all stakeholders to progress to better cope with the disease and emerging health threats. The goal is the same for all of us: the protection of populations and for that anticipation, monitoring, management and organization of the response in case of epidemic crisis.


Appointments made for the second edition of the Forum in 2015 in the Pacific or the Caribbean.

 

Press Contacts :

Agence de Santé Océan Indien - Huguette JULIE : 06 92 65 48 66 – mail

Commission de l’océan Indien - Florence WALLEMACQ : +230 465 68 34 – mail

More information can be found on other websites:

Research unit CMAEE from CIRAD and Research Units from La Reunion and Mayotte from CIRAD.

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