The impact of climate change on the health of people in the Western Pacific will be on the agenda when the region's nursing and midwifery leaders gather on Monday 7 April to launch a new World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre at UTS.
WHO has chosen the UTS: Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health as a Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development – part of an international network supporting WHO objectives for global public health. It is currently the only such centre in Australia.
Acting Dean of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Professor Denise Dignam, said the UTS centre would spearhead regional programs in areas including skills and workforce development and preparedness for disasters and pandemics.
"The centre is being launched on World Health Day, which this year is focusing on the need to protect health from the adverse effects of climate change – an issue that is already present in our region," Professor Dignam said.
"The dangers posed range from extreme weather-related disasters to the wider spread of such vector-borne diseases as malaria and dengue fever."
The centre's coordinator, Michele Rumsey, said that with its establishment UTS would act as the secretariat for the South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance, which will meet following the centre's launch on 8 and 9 April.
"The meeting will cement a network of chief nurses and midwifery officers taking in Australia and New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Solomons, Samoa, Tonga, French Polynesia and several other island nations," Rumsey said.
"It will discuss urgent human resources issues, including plans for a coordinated response to the improvement of regional nursing and midwifery education and the development of regional research collaboration in reproductive health.
"It will also look to strengthen regional governmental networks to improve crisis communication, crisis management and leadership in the face of threats to public health in the South Pacific."
The new centre is one of only seven nursing and midwifery WHO Collaborating Centres in the Western Pacific Region, encompassing 37 countries including China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. Health service representatives from several of these nations, along with WHO regional officials, will attend the Sydney launch.
The Centre aims to:
- promote and support the national, regional and international development of nursing and midwifery health planning;
- build leadership capacity nationally, regionally and internationally by providing research-based education and leadership programs for nurses and midwives;
- develop an innovative policy development centre for the promotion of improved quality of care, including disease prevention at a regional, national and international level; and
- strengthen existing relationships with national, regional and international consumers, regulators, governments, professional organization, institutes and relevant bodies to develop sound health systems, including the regulation of nurses and midwives to ensure quality of care and protection of the public.
UTS Media Office 26 March 2008