Federated States of Micronesia forges a way forward to health security in the Pacific
The Federated States of Micronesia has become the first Pacific island country to complete a Joint External Evaluation (JEE).
JEEs are voluntary, and involve a team of local and international experts working together to evaluate the country’s preparedness for outbreaks and health emergencies. This includes a set of core capacities required under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) – a legally-binding international instrument signed by 196 countries across the globe, including the Federated States of Micronesia. The JEE process provides countries with recommendations on how to strengthen their national systems and address identified gaps, as part of an ongoing process of learning and improvement.
“This has been a week of thoughtful discussion, valuable insights and new ideas — but also a recognition of what has already been working well,” said Magdalena Walter, Secretary of Health and Social Affairs. “We know that by working together we can better protect our people from outbreaks and emergencies.”
Dr Li Ailan, Regional Emergency Director for the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Western Pacific, praised the country for being at the forefront of health security in the Pacific: “The Federated States of Micronesia should be proud of the fact that this is the first JEE in a Pacific island country.”
The JEE in the Federated States of Micronesia was conducted from 13-17 August and included experts in a range of disciplines including surveillance, antimicrobial resistance, risk communication, emergency management and biosecurity. WHO supported the country to prepare for the evaluation and ensure it was appropriately tailored to the Pacific island context, where geographically dispersed populations make delivering health services and managing emergency response operations logistically challenging and expensive.
“We are happy to have supported the Federated States of Micronesia through the JEE process,” said Dr Eunyoung Ko, WHO Country Liaison Officer. “Now we’ll continue to work together to implement the recommendations and catalyze further progress towards health security.”
In the Pacific, WHO works closely with national authorities and regional partners to collectively prioritize, implement and fund sustainable national and regional health security capacities, guided by the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies (APSED III) and the Pacific Health Security Coordination Plan 2017-2022 (PaHSeC). These strategic frameworks support countries and partners to take collective action to accelerate implementation of the IHR at national and regional levels.
Other countries in the Western Pacific Region that have conducted a JEE include Australia, Cambodia, Japan, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Viet Nam.