Last week, WHO Regional Director of the Western Pacific Region, Dr Shin Young-soo, visited Fiji. From Suva to Levuka, visiting POLHN learning centres across the country was one of the main purposes of his visit.
Beginning his POLHN visit at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, Dr Shin met with high level officials and explored the brand new POLHN learning centre. He spoke about how far the program had come, from when it had very low enrolment at the start of his term in 2009. Since then, there has been heavy investment from WHO and health ministries across the South Pacific, which has made a considerable difference.
The new learning centre at CWM is fitted with brand new computers and hosts numerous workshops. The number of nurses and doctors enrolling in POLHN is also steadily increasing. Dr Shin told workers at the Hospital that this was an achievement that they should be incredibly proud of.
The Regional Director’s visit also took him to Levuka. Along with Minister for Health Rosy Akbar, he spent a morning at Levuka Hospital. There, he saw public health in action at a more rural location. There, he also visited the Hospital’s POLHN learning centre. A training workshop was taking place at the time on infection prevention and control, hosted by Devina Gaundan. The workshop was an incredible success, and nine hospital workers successfully graduated from the program that day.
Impressed with what he saw in Suva and Levuka, Dr Shin now wants to see an expansion of POLHN. The aim now is to work even closer with governments, to get more accreditation of courses and more and more programs added online. Inspired by POLHN’s success, East Asian countries such as Laos and Cambodia now want to implement a similar program.
Visiting all the way from Manila, the Regional Director seeing POLHN in action has given both students and POLHN officers renewed faith in the program. Today, POLHN has more than 30,000 enrolled users and 45 learning centres across the South Pacific. Dr Shin’s increasing support will undoubtedly translate into further expansion in the coming years.