Pacific

UN agencies tell Pacific to vaccinate against measles

They said this should to happen before travelling internationally, attending major events or community gatherings.

Vaccination provided the best protection against measles and parents should get their children immunised, the agencies said.

In October, Samoa and Tonga both declared measles outbreaks.

Both UNICEF and the WHO said they were continuing to provide resources to Pacific states to respond to the measles threat.

     

Researchers to look at Pacific genetic link to gout, diabetes

Both diseases and other metabolic disorders are rife in the Pacific.

A team of researchers from the University of Otago has been granted the money by New Zealand's Marsden Fund Council.

One of the principal researchers, Anna Gosling, said through the work Professor Tony Merriman has already done with Maori and Pasifika in New Zealand, they thought there was a genetic link.

Throughout the Pacific, where there are high rates of these diseases, people had a shared ancestry, Dr Gosling said.

Up to 12 Pacific cyclones expected this season - forecasters

Working with New Zealand's MetService and meterological services in the island nations, the team said there would be elevated activity in the latter part of the season, from February.

Nine to 12 named tropical cyclones could occur in the Southwest Pacific basin between November and April, with the risk highest in Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Niue, the southern Cook Islands, and the Austral Islands, they said.

Four severe cyclones reaching category 3 or higher might occur anywhere across the region.

     

Australia eases kava restrictions

The announcement of a kava pilot programme was made as Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, visited Fiji on Friday.

Mr Morrison said the amount of kava that can be imported for personal consumption will be doubled from two to four kilograms by the end of the year.

A pilot programme for commercial kava imports will also be implemented by the end of 2020.

 

     

New Zealand increases seasonal jobs for Pacific workers

The NZ Minister of Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway announced Thursday that the RSE cap would increase by 1,550 places this year, bringing the total available RSE visas to 14,400.

“We are helping our regions’ growers to plan ahead and get the support they need. For the first time we are announcing a two-year increase to the RSE quota. This will help address industry concerns that a lack of certainty on RSE numbers makes it hard for them to plan for labour needs and accommodation requirements,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

Viral measles outbreak in Auckland has Pacific nations on alert

From 1 January 2019 to 9 September 2019 there have been 1131 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand - 944 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the New Zealand government is continuing to give very strong advice to everyone to get immunised.

Chinese diplomat calls Pacific criticism ignorant, prejudiced

In an opinion piece in the Samoa Observer he called this view ignorant, or prejudiced.

Earlier this month, an American official claimed China was "using predatory economics" and "debt for sovereignty deals".

But Mr Chao called this ridiculous.

Claims that loans from China are a quid pro quo for recipient nations' political sovereignty is "Cold War" thinking not supported by evidence, he said.

"China's foreign aid is offered on the basis of equality, with full respect for the will of the governments and people," he wrote.

Influence of Fiji-based eye care facility spreads through Pacific

The Pacific Eye Institute is a non-profit, supported by the Fred Hollows Institute, which provides specialised care for people around the region but also trains and recruits professionals to aid communities in their own countries.

One such professional is Duke Mataka, the sole ophthalmologist (or specialist eye doctor), in Tonga.

Dr Mataka graduated from the Pacific Eye Institute last year before returning to the kingdom to serve his community.

Workshop on Maritime Security in the Pacific

"Good maritime and port security is the enabler for maritime and economic development through maritime trade. It can be taken for granted when it works, but maintaining good security is essential," said the UN body.

The workshop coincided with IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim's visit to Vanuatu, Fiji and Australia - the first time an IMO Secretary General visited the South Pacific.

Pacific insurers see SME and group business as a way forward for growth

However, a lack of insurance awareness amongst business owners, and the condition of some businesses (insurability) are hampering the speed at which insurance take up is happening amongst this market segment.

The majority of the respondents from 12 of the leading insurance providers in the region recently surveyed by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) say that while SME’s make up a very important part of Pacific economies, insurance providers are still working out how to best capitalise on the opportunity that SMEs present.