The Directorate of Public Health runs 12 core public health programs and a number of related subsidiary programs. Headquartered in Port Vila, it is represented in all 6 provinces by a skeleton team of staff who implement planned activities in conjunction with hospital and community health staff
Role of the Directorate
The primary role of the directorate is to deliver essential public health services based on the following essential principles: monitor the health status of communities to identify and solve health problems; diagnose and investigate health problems and hazards in communities; inform, educate, and empower people about healthy lifestyles; mobilize partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems; develop policies, plans and guidelines to support health efforts; develop and enforce laws and regulations to protect health and ensure safety; link people to needed health services and assure the provision of health care provided; ensure that the health care workforce is competent; monitor and evaluate the effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services; and conduct research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems.
Dr. Jenny Stephens, Director of Public Health
The focus of public health is to protect public health by using, as far as possible, low-cost, effective and high-impact population-wide strategic interventions. Its vision is healthy people in healthy communities and settings. In fulfilling its role, our directorate aspires to the Healthy Islands vision, whose framework aims to align with the indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the People’s Plan 2016 – 2030, and also to the principles and concepts of universal health coverage. With limited funds and staff provided by Government, the directorate is heavily dependent on donor support and partnership arrangements in order to fulfil its mandate to deliver quality public health services that would directly impact the life, health and future of the beneficiaries at grassroots level.
With increasingly strong leadership from 2016, and the close cooperation and collaboration with partners and donors, the Directorate has achieved a lot in 2017. The programmatic reports which follow will highlight the key successful stories and achievements in 2017. The challenges identified will need to be broadly understood that some relate to the existing health system while others are more to do with specific programmatic issues. It is envisioned that the approval and implementation of the new MOH structure from April 2017 will help bolster our directorate capacity and capability in 2018 and beyond in our continuing strive to deliver quality public health services for our people.
- Public Health legislation, policy and strategy were developed, reviewed and maintained on an ongoing basis.
- Key Public Health programmes were planned, implemented, monitored and evaluated throughout the nation through Community Health Services and Hospital services.
- Laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety were enforced.
- Public Health Programs were effectively managed with proper coordination and support at national level and decentralised activity delivery at provincial and sub-provincial levels.
Means of Service Delivery
- A review of national level Public Health legislation, policy and strategy was conducted which provided recommendations for updates and other amendments.
- Joint planning exercises across Public Health programmes were undertaken that also ensured participation from national Corporate, provincial Public Health and provincial Hospitals & Curative Services to address integrated business planning and budgeting processes.
- Training and awareness sessions on existing legislation, policies and regulations were provided for key national and provincial health staff and also staff from relevant partner agencies.
- Joint inspections and enforcement of legislations were undertaken by MOH and its relevant partner agencies in Port Vila and Luganville, with plans to expand to other administrative centres in future.
- Routine oversight reviews of activity delivery with respect to annual targets were provided, which provided feedback to provincial managers, through specific programmatic and integrated supervisory visits.