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Pacific Infectious Diseases (Operational Research, Surveillance and Resilience) Working Group

Co-Heads: Dr Caroline van Gemert and Dr Jane Greig

The goal of the Pacific Infectious Diseases Working Group is to be a key partner in the Pacific region providing technical expertise and support for infectious diseases operational research, surveillance, and response.

  1. Establish and maintain strong partnerships with key stakeholders across the Pacific in pandemic preparedness and response, operational research, and triple elimination;
  2. Co-design and deliver PPR projects and research, working in partnership with national and provincial surveillance units and regional organisations across the Pacific Region;
  3. Independently and with partners, develop a program of research and activities focused on the triple elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis in the Pacific;
  4. Support healthcare workers across the Pacific to contribute to, and lead, operational research focused on health challenges in the Pacific.

Working in partnership with health authorities, multi-sectoral stakeholders and community in the Pacific region, we focus on two workstreams:

  1. Triple elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B in the Pacific; and
  2. Pandemic Preparedness and Response (PPR) through health system strengthening of outbreak detection and response.

In addition to Burnet’s core values of respect, equity, inclusiveness, and diversity, our work:

  • Embeds the principles of partnership brokering, bringing together multi-sectoral partners and communities with different strengths, expertise and resources in order to maximise impact and sustainability.
  • Supports partners, seeking to develop leadership in health research within the region;
  • Considers the environment impact of our activities

The impact of our work focuses on strengthening resilience to infectious disease threats in the Pacific. 

Through establishing robust partnerships with key stakeholders (such as local surveillance units, One Health partners, and regional organisations), initiatives will be grounded in local contexts and priorities, leading to more effective pandemic preparedness and response efforts. 

Collaborative co-design of projects and research ensures local ownership and sustainability and generates tailored and more effective means of addressing health challenges.

The focus on triple elimination targets critical issues like mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B, improving maternal and child health outcomes, reducing the long-term burden of liver disease, and fostering healthier communities.

Initiatives engaging and working with local healthcare workers not only strengthen research capabilities but also elevate the quality of healthcare services, creating a more resilient health system for present and future health challenges in the Pacific. 


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A pilot study to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of electronic notification of confirmed cases of infectious diseases in Vanuatu
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Protektem Pinkini Blong Yu
Protektem Pinkini Blong Yu: Preventing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B in Vanuatu
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Community insights to identify determinants of zero-dose children in Melanesia: A World Health Organization Behavioural and Social Drivers (BeSD) tool adaptation
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