World Health Organization (WHO) Representative for the South Pacific and Director Division of Pacific Technical Support, Dr Corinne Capuano, says Universities play a key role in ensuring leaders of tomorrow have the necessary skills and understanding to address the issues of today.

Dr Capuano made these comments during the elite 7th Heads of Health (HoH) Meeting currently underway at Denarau in Nadi.

According to Dr Capuano, they would be discussing a number of important issues like Communicable and Non Communicable Diseases, health systems and impact of climate change on health in the Pacific.

“I would be looking forward to having more partnerships with FNU and it being a University in the Pacific, they play a part in the development of the workforce and in exploring ways where they can contribute in addressing these key issues.”

“It’s always interesting to hear from academic side on what they are doing and how they could contribute towards addressing health issues.”

Dr Capuano added that no one could address the mentioned issues on their own and it had to be a collaborative work of “partners coming together and agreeing on what needs to be done”.

FNU’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) also made a presentation as the secretariat of the Pacific ECHO (Ending Childhood Obesity) Network.

In his presentation, CMNHS Associate Dean Research, Dr Donald Wilson, highlighted the key role the College played in the medical field in the Pacific.

“As the secretariat of the Pacific ECHO Network, we (CMNHS) know there is NCD (Non Communicable Diseases) crisis in the Pacific, and our presentation today was about highlighting what we have achieved so far,” Dr Wilson said.

“Our presence today was also to provide feedback to the member countries and our partners about  the progress on the priority action areas that were planned in our meetings.”

The HoH brings together Permanent Secretaries, Directors of Health and representatives from all 22 member countries around the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand.

“The recommendations made by the HoH at the end of the meeting will be taken to the Health Ministers of the member countries during the Pacific Health Ministers in August for considerations and endorsement. From there we will move forward in addressing the key issues,” Dr Capuano said.

The meeting ends today.

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