Greetings from the PPTC.

Laboratories are an essential component of public health systems, particularly for disease surveillance, diagnosis, prevention and treatment.  Health laboratories in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) have identified multiple challenges to effective performance, including financing, qualified and skilled workforce, information, medical products and technologies, service delivery and leadership and governance.

 The PPTC is recognised internationally as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in terms of teaching and training programmes provided to National Health Laboratories of Pacific Island Countries. The PPTC is a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating centre. It offers excellent training programmes both in New Zealand and Pacific Island settings. These short term in-country teaching workshops have proven extremely valuable and have made an immediate and significant impact in terms of capacity expansion and up skilling personnel, however on-going consolidation programmes are essential if such a difference in the development or enhancement of skill is to be further advanced and maintained.

 The goal of the PPTC is “to assist national health laboratories of the Pacific region to develop a laboratory service that is appropriate, affordable and sustainable and will provide immediate benefits to the healthcare settings in which they are used”.

 New Zealand  based courses provided by the PPTC at the Centre this  year were as follows:

Haematology and Blood Film examination   4 August – 29 August

Haematology continues to be weak in performance in Pacific Island Laboratories and this is due to a devastating lack of expertise in “Blood film examination and interpretation” throughout the region. The PPTC offered a 4 week training course in August of this year at its Centre in Wellington and four students attended: June Teiti  from the Cook Islands, Nerisa Faumuina from American Samoa, and Bridgit Kavana and Niam Pokale both from Papua New Guinea. The course was a great success and the students gained a great deal of knowledge and skill over the 4 week duration.

Wellington Centre Based Training Course  Back L-R - Russell-PPTC, Niam-PNG, Nerisa-American Samoa, Phil-PPTC, Linda-PPTC. Front L-R - June-Cook Islands, Bridgit-PNG.
Back L-R: Russell-PPTC, Niam-PNG, Nerisa-American Samoa, Phil-PPTC, Linda-PPTC.Front L-R – June-Cook Islands, Bridgit-PNG.

Microbiology 1 – 26 September

The PPTC also offered a 4 week training course in Microbiology in September at its Centre in Wellington and three students attended : Senisaleti Pasikala from Tonga, Felix Kokoa from Tuvalu, and Bernard Tatireta from Kiribati.

This was also a great success in terms of the learning experience the students received. The PPTC also facilitated two visitng lectures from the WHO Collaborating Centre for STD and Neisseria Reference Laboratory, The Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney who updated the students on N.gonorrhoeae identification and antimicrobial sensitivity testing over three days.

Back L-R: Russell-PPTC, Bernard-Kiribati, Felix-Tuvalu, Ratan-Sydney Visiting Lecture, Pinati-Samoa. Front L-R: Rodney-Sydney Visiting Lecture, Seni-Tonga
Back L-R: Russell-PPTC, Bernard-Kiribati, Felix-Tuvalu, Ratan-Sydney Visiting Lecture, Pinati-Samoa.Front L-R: Rodney-Sydney Visiting Lecture, Seni-Tonga


Laboratory Quality Management 29- 24 October

The third course offered for this year is the Laboratory Quality Management course. Three students attended this course and they were Ravendra Prasad – CWM Hospital , and Asena Bukadua – Labasa Hospital, Fiji and Tekaibeti Taratake from the DOTS TB Laboratory,  Kiribati.

L-R: Sharon-Kenepuru Hospital, Ravendra-Fiji, Asena-Fiji, Tekaibeti-Kiribati, Russell-PPTC
L-R: Sharon-Kenepuru Hospital, Ravendra-Fiji, Asena-Fiji, Tekaibeti-Kiribati, Russell-PPTC

Blood Transfusion Science  3 – 28  November 2014

This will be the final course in Wellington for this yea, and this currently is in session at this moment. We are pleased that the New Zealand Blood Service will once again be offering their expertise in terms of teaching and training to our nominated students. Three students are attending this course and they are: Tejal Chauhan from Princess Margaret Hospital, Tuvalu, Puaseiesi Pila from LBJ Tropical Medical Centre, American Samoa and Nabiri Tiaon from Tugaru Central Hospital, Kiribati.

Overseas Travel:                                     

In July of this year, the implementation of Laboratory Quality Management Systems (LQMS) continued with visits carried out in Tonga (Navin Karan), Kiribati (Russell Cole) and Samoa ( Filipo Faiga).

Navin then travelled to the four Federated States of Micronesia in the northern region of the Pacific and delivered teaching and training in Microbiology as a commitment to our in-country teaching programme.

Rob Siebers visited Samoa in September to assess progress in LQMS as did Clare Murphy in Vanuatu.

 Phil Wakem travelled to the Cook Islands in late September to meet with the staff and to assess LQMS, and in October, Phil, Navin and Rob will travel to Fiji to attend the Fiji Medical Laboratory Science Conference which is to be held on the 9-11 of the month.

Navin will then continue on to Kiribati and later to American Samoa to complete his LQMS visits for this year.  Towards the end of October, Rob is scheduled to visit Tonga, and Russell will visit Samoa which will also complete their travel for this year.

 Phil returns to Manila in November to attend an international forum of World Health Organisation Collaborating  Centres. The PPTC is a registered Collaborating Centre of WHO,  and Phil will attend this forum  along with 200 participants from 124 WHO Collaborating Centres  located in the Western Pacific Region.