NOUMEA, New Caledonia—Following a request from the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. for additional expertise in the wake of typhoon Soudelor, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has sent a senior epidemiologist to Saipan to assist with public health surveillance.
SPC epidemiologist Dr. Paul White has arrived on Saipan from SPC headquarters in Noumea and will work closely with the Commonwealth health authorities and partners from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the next two weeks.
“We’re very pleased to provide epidemiology support to our colleagues in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to ensure public health security in the aftermath of the devastating typhoon Soudelor,” SPC Director-General Dr. Colin Tukuitonga said.
“In post-disaster situations, SPC is able to provide specialized support and services to Pacific Community members based on their specific needs,” he said.
Rated by the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre as a Category 2 when it devastated parts of the Northern Mariana Islands, Typhoon Soudelor intensified early last week to a maximum Category 5 before reaching Taiwan and China.
Dr. White will assist with setting up post-disaster surveillance systems in designated areas, such as temporary shelters for displaced people.
He will also provide assistance with the collection, analysis, and dissemination of real-time health data and timely response to potential disease outbreaks.
SPC’s Public Health Division provided similar practical support to the government of Vanuatu following tropical cyclone Pam earlier this year. Dr. White was part of the team deployed to Tanna Island, Vanuatu. (SPC)