Pacific Island Health Officers Association meeting held at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center on 27.

Palau hosted for the third time the biennial gathering of health officers from Micronesia to tackle issues and initiatives related to health services in the region during a meeting held March 25 to 28.

Health Planning, Development and International Health Administrator Omengkar Wally, in an interview, said that one of the Pacific Island Health Officers Association (PIHOA)’s priorities that was discussed in the meeting included the improvement of laboratory services in the region as this is seen also to help curb the problem of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD).

“NCD has always been a target for the PIHOA. By improving the laboratory, it’s supposed to help strengthen NCD efforts,” Wally said.

The health officers also discussed partner engagement, advocacy and leadership development, human resources for health and workforce development, and regional health information systems, surveillance, and performance management, among others.

PIHOA also follows a work plan that is implemented every four to five years and tapped into grants from the United States to fund activities and organizations dedicated to the improvement of the health sector in the region. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)