Integrating drinking water, sanitation & health surveillance for disaster preparedness & response: a post TC Winston perspective from Qelekuro Village, Fiji
Fiji Journal of Public Health
Ministry of Health and Medical Services
School of Science
In several Pacific island countries, including Fiji and Samoa, flooding following cyclones and prolonged rainfall have been linked to outbreaks of several waterborne diseases, resulting in costly disaster response measures. The greatest risk to health in these situations is the transmission of fecal pathogens, due to inadequate sanitation, hygiene and protection of water sources. When drinking water quality results are obtained, there is no nationally co-ordinated mechanism for routine reporting to MoHMS by all NDWQC agencies to coordinate a national response. All national agencies need strengthened management of data, field based testing abilities and communication capacity. MoHMS is working with the NDWQC to establish the Fiji Centre for Communicable Disease Control Water Laboratory as a central data co-ordination and analysis unit from which a prioritized national response can be initiated based on community risk and the resources available within national agencies and the partners of WASH and Health clusters. While the entire system of data collection, analysis and feedback has yet to be fully developed, the field trials and subsequent presentation of results have been widely accepted by the NDWQC agencies as a vast improvement over the existing system.