by Lagi Keresoma
APIA: TUESDAY 07 JULY 2013: The Pacific must go it alone to improve health.
In an address at the 10th Pacific Health Ministers here, Niue’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, Her Excellency Honorable Tauveve O’Love Jacobsen, let it be known she no longer wants to see the Asia/Pacific any longer.
“Why are we forever being bundled in geographically with Asia,” Jacobsen said.
She said Asia has it’s own civilization and the Pacific should stand on its own.
“Pacific people need to establish ourselves in such a way where we can utilise the expertise and intelligence of our own Pacific people.”
The Pacific knows its own problems and how best to solve them, not others, said Jacobsen.
As a former Minister of Health of Niue, she was one of the signatories of the Yanuca Island Declaration on Health in the Pacific 1995.
She has seen the slow progress of implementing the vision set down 18 years ago, which included the improvement of ways to combat disease.
“It’s time we look at our own people as an asset and resource and value our people for what they have learnt and their achievement.”
“Yes we do need the people from the outside, to supplement and help us to rise above it all, but right now it’s coming from the top going down and nothing from the bottom going up.”
Implementation of the 1995 objectives has taken far too long because there has been too much to focus on.
Just leave everything else and focus on women and health and NCDs will be reduced, Her Excellency said.
“Educate women and you are educating the world,” she said.
“There is a definite need for pacific leaders to refocus themselves and push a little harder.”
Jacobsen called for the Forum Secretariat and the South Pacific Commission (SPC) need to merge in order to address such issues as NCDs.
SPC Director –General Dr. Jimmie Rodgers believes that that will never happen.
“The two bodies do work closely together and when discussing NCDs, we take the conclusions from the Ministers to the Forum who takes it to the leaders of various countries, before coming back to us,” Dr. Rodgers said.
The Forum Secretariat is the premiere political organisation while SPC is the technical and scientific organisation, he said.
The difference is SPC memberships covers the non-political independent territories and their technical work covers more countries than the Forum does.
The Health ministers’ three-day conference began today.