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Tonga joins other Pacific islands in consultations to draft guidelines for HIV Testing Services

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 11/04/2017


Joint approaches and missions work best in the Pacific region, Tonga included when addressing the issue of HIV Aids.

This prompted the Ministry of Health’s move to ensure sufficient and consistent guidelines for HIV Testing, such as enhancing routine surveillance system, treat all who tested positive and continue monitoring them, elimination of Mother to Child Transmission and others.

Two experts from the Secretariat of the Pacific Commission – SPC are in Tonga to conduct 3 day training for stakeholders.

Opening the program, Health Director Dr. Siale ‘Akau’ola says, health services are vital and  should become the first service of help sought by the general public when it comes to health issues.

It is the desire that everybody have to improve health outcome, health care, safe care, and there is no burden financially, because of the care we provide. What care are we talking about? Health promotion, hospital. I think we’re supposed to provide prevention, promotion, and rehabilitation. Another component is non-personal care – this refers to 70% of social economic environmental determinacy of health that is beyond our jurisdictions”

Dr. ‘Akau’ola says, choices can become a problem but there are other factors that are needed to help in shaping  better choices of  individuals in areas of  Education, civil society, church, community and others.

Here we have a lab, it is a tertiary care and we have an obstetric, child versus transmission yet we still have the promotion we have the community and we need to prevent this from happening, we need to have policies to protect people against certain behaviors to provide those policy in a framework that is equitable and doesn’t marginal groups”

An expert from SPC Dr. Dennie Iniakwala told the gathering that the general public should be more aware of HIV virus.

So within the new era you will realize that ART, STI’s and PMTCT also link to other SDG’s such as human rights, gender, so those are areas we will talk about.90% of the community needs to know about HIV , 90% who knows that are positive needs to have treatment and 90 % who are being treated needed to be inclined”

Participating in the workshop was former President of the Tonga Leiti Association and organizers recognized the importance of their involvement in this health issue.

There were also representatives of the Tonga Family Health Association, Health officials from Vaiola and the Outer-islands, and related stakeholders.

Similar consultations are being conducted in 10 other pacific islands.

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