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Vaccine hesitancy has been a particular challenge for governments and health teams around the world as COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out. In Papua New Guinea, a country still seeking to embed a system of routine childhood vaccinations, the rollout presented a challenge for the health workforce.Our guest this week is Mr Api Kassman, Executive Director of the National Vaccine Task Force in Papua New Guinea. We discuss his involvement in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in PNG and how the country’s first adult targeted vaccine program was rolled out. Mr Kassman speaks about the need for a shift in strategy to include fit-for-purpose, culturally appropriate interventions.We encourage you to join the conversation at @CentreHealthSec.
Last month at the Global Health Security Conference in Singapore, Policy Cures Research launched their second edition of the Landscape of Emerging Infectious Disease Research and Development funding report, supported by the Australian Government. Our guest this week is Dr Paul Barnsley, Senior Analyst at Policy Cures Research, and the lead author of the report, who joins us to talk about its key findings. We discuss how R&D funding for Ebola ultimately led to success in creating a stable of products that limits its risk of its pandemic potential. Plus, how the unprecedented R&D response to the Covid-19 pandemic is reshaped the funding landscape for emerging infectious disease R&D into the future. Dr Barnsley also speaks about the promising new entrants in EID R&D funding from low to middle income countries, given that they are often the countries that epidemic disease does most harm.  We hope you join the conversation at @CentreHealthSec and follow Policy Cures Research at @PCuresResearch. To access Policy Cures Research reports, visit access G-FINDER data, visit
As the global health community continues to examine how prepared we were for a pandemic, this week’s episode asks – how can we move the conversation forward to future resilience, and what systems can be put in place to ensure we can withstand future pandemics?Our guest this week is Professor Mika Salminen, the Director of Health Security at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. We discuss the World Health Organization’s Joint External Evaluations (JEEs) and States Parties Annual Reports (SPARs), and what he’s learned through his work focussing on measurement systems of health outcomes. Much of the dialogue around Covid-19 is around what is currently happening, but Professor Salminen discusses the importance of thinking about what we can do better to safeguard against the next pandemic so that we do not need the prolonged global shutdowns that have had major consequences on our health, welfare, and economies – particularly in low-income countries. This conversation was recorded at the recent Global Health Security Conference in Singapore. We hope you join the conversation at @CentreHealthSec and follow Professor Salminen’s work at @mika_salminen and @THLresearch.
As we move from COVID-19 as a pandemic, to COVID-19 as a virus, this week’s episode asks – what did we learn about pandemic response as a global health community? In particular, what did we learn about applying a global health response in middle- and low-economically developed countries? And what can we do better next time?Our guests this week are Dr Bill Rodriguez, the Chief Executive Officer of FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics, and Dr Fifa Rahman, the Principal Consultant at Matahari Global Solutions, and a Permanent NGO Representative on the WHO Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.We discuss the successes of the international community during the pandemic, such as the unprecedented international coordination and the rapid development of health technologies have been vital to the pandemic response. But both guests point out that too often these measures were implemented without sufficient input from the people who are affected. We ask how we can work towards a future pandemic response that decentralises the decision making and control of the tools of global health and empowers people and communities to make decisions about their needs.As we move from COVID as a pandemic to COVID as a virus, it’s incumbent on the global health community to take the lessons from this pandemic and strengthen our systems and processes for the next pandemic. This is the conversation is the first step in that process.We hope you join the conversation @CentreHealthSec and follow Bill and Fifa’s work @FINDdx and @fifarahman.
The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security has begun a series of roundtables across the country on Future Funding Priorities. At the recent roundtable in Melbourne Robin Davies, First Assistant Secretary of the Global Health Division at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Head of the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, spoke to Professor Jodie McVernon, the Director of Epidemiology at the The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. Professor McVernon has become a leading voice on disease spread and control during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversation follows her work at The Doherty Institute and the Institute’s ongoing partnerships with DFAT. Professor McVernon talks about how DFAT and the Doherty Institute worked together to help governments in the Indo-Pacific track and respond to COVID.Professor McVernon explains how DFAT and the Doherty Institute’s data for decision making partnership helped strengthen systems and inform clinical decision making, such as where in PNG the government needed to deploy its limited supply of oxygen. It's an important conversation as we look to the next stage of our work in the region.  Learn more about Professor McVernon’s work on the Doherty Institute’s website and the SPARK investment page.
Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security, Stephanie Williams, is back on the road to meet with Australia’s partners in the region and learn about how they have fared during the pandemic. On today’s episode, Ambassador Williams speaks to Armandina Gusmao Amaral, the Program Director at the Partnership for Human Development. Mana Dina is a stalwart of public health and development in Timor Leste, having worked with AusAID, then the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade since 2004. She developed her passion for healthcare and serving her community watching her late father work as a nurse when she was a child, and she has dedicated her career to helping develop Timor Leste’s health sector.Mana Dina and Stephanie talk about building resilient health systems in Timor Leste and how the pandemic has challenged the work of the Partnership for Human Development. Mana Dina talks about how her passion for working with people and communities has helped her work in coordination, engagement and management of health systems. We also discuss Mana Dina’s work mentoring the next generation of health workers in Timor Leste and what more needs to be done to not only strengthen the healthcare system in our region, but also develop the pipeline of talented healthcare workers from doctors and nurses, to public health professionals.We hope you enjoy the conversation and learn more about the Partnership for Human Development’s work at 
Today’s episode features Professor Allen Cheng, the Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health, Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at Monash University and the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Vaccines to the Therapeutic Goods Administration and an infectious diseases physician. He is also known to many for his year-long secondment as the Deputy Chief Health Officer of Victoria from July 2020 – June 2021. As Professor Cheng says in today’s episode, he has a “very specific skill set.” An infectious diseases clinician specialising in respiratory infections and flu vaccine effectiveness, he was expertly qualified to lead Victoria’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Cheng talks about the challenges of transitioning from a researcher and clinician to public health practitioner, and the lessons he learnt in the process. He advocates for innovative approaches to public health preparedness, like a “public health reservist core,” and talks about how governments can and should effectively buy and use vaccines and COVID treatments. It’s a fascinating discussion and we hope you join the conversation @CentreHealthSec
World Health Day this Thursday, 7 April will focus global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being. After two years of a global pandemic, it’s a time to reflect on the fact that the health of our planet and the health of our people are inextricably connected. The WHO estimates that more than 13 million deaths around the world each year are due to avoidable environmental causes. Our region, the Indo-Pacific, is at the forefront of the climate and health crisis. On today’s episode we are joined by two of Fiji’s health leaders who have been at the forefront of its COVID response and our now at the forefront of the country – and region’s – efforts to continue to strengthen health systems, for everyone. Dr James Fong is a Fijian obstetrician-gynaecologist who serves as the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fong led the COVID-19 Incidental Management Team and was responsible for communicating with the public on the status of the pandemic.Dr Aalisha Sahukhan is the Head of Health Protection for the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services. A trained infectious diseases epidemiologist, Dr Sahukhan was appointed acting national advisor on communicable diseases in 2017. In 2018 she became acting head of Health Protection before being appointed head in 2021. Health Protection is a newly formed national programme in Fiji bringing together the departments of environmental health, health emergencies and climate change, and communicable disease.Drs Fong and Sahukhan talk to Ambassador Williams about the importance of testing and quickly adapting to evolving needs and understanding all factors that influence the health of a society, including environmental factors. We ask, what is effective leadership when responding to a health emergency? And what role do health care workers play in broader social challenges? We hope you enjoy the conversation and learn more about World Health Day 2022. @WHO @CentreHealthSec @AusAmbRHS #WorldHealthCareWorkerWeek
This Thursday, 24 March is World Tuberculosis Day. An estimated 9.9 million people fell ill with TB in 2020 and 1.5 million people died from the disease. TB continues to be a blight in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Kiribati and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Papua New Guinea bears the largest burden of disease in the Pacific, including a heavy burden of multidrug-resistant TB. In 2020 almost 30,000 cases were notified there, including 600 cases of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB.But TB is preventable and curable. So why is it still one of the most infectious and deadly diseases on the planet? On today’s episode we are joined by three experts who are on the front line of trying to bring an end TB.Dr Mel Spigelman is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development – the TB Alliance – and a Member of its Board of Directors. In his time at the TB Alliance, Dr Spiegelman has been a leader in developing a regimen-based paradigm of TB drug development and leading the TB drug research field.Dr Margaret Kal is the director of the PNG National TB Program (NTP). In this role, Dr Kal is responsible for the development of all national TB guidelines, policies, research, national program reviews and all other plans and policies for TB prevention and care in PNG. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade supports the work of the NTP.And finally, Dr Philipp du Cros is an Infectious Diseases Specialist in TB Elimination and Implementation Science at the Burnet Institute. He has extensive experience in the management of TB/HIV programs and has worked with MDR TB programs across Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Myanmar, Uganda, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.The theme of World TB Day 2022 - ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives.’ We talk to all of our guests on this episode about practical ways the global community can invest to end TB and the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB.We hope you learn something from the conversation and join the fight to end TB @TBAlliance @CentreHealthSec
The theme for International Women's Day 2022 is "Gender equality today for a sustainable world tomorrow." Women and girls in the Indo-Pacific region are at the forefront of dealing with the effects of climate affected disasters – from natural disasters to pandemics. They are also leading the charge on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, and building a more sustainable future for all.To celebrate International Women’s Day this week, we are presenting two episodes of Contain This. The second is a recording of a special event hosted by the Embassy of Australia in Washington, D.C., in which Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security Williams was interviewed by Beverly Kirk, the Executive Director of JOURNEY, a new not-for-profit venture that's focused on the goal of seeing more women in senior leadership roles. Beverly and Stephanie discuss how we can support the leadership pipeline for women in public health, and how the pandemic has affected women and girls in the Indo-Pacific. They also discuss how podcasts like Contain This can help give women a voice and lift their stories to wider audiences.We hope you join the conversation @AusAmbRHS Twitter and @AusintheUS Twitter and Facebook.
At the centre of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic was a set of public health obligations called the International Health Regulations (IHR). The IHR is a legally-binding instrument designed to help the international community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide. They include specific obligations for the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of international concern if certain thresholds are met.This week on Contain This we talk to Australian Assistant Professor Alex Phelan who has made the IHR her area of expertise at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Alex is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center, and also Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. In this episode, she talks to Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security Stephanie Williams about what went wrong with the response to COVID-19 and outlines some proposed changes to strengthen international public health law in the future.Our conversation also celebrates the phenomenal Australian women working in public health in the Indo-Pacific and around the world. It’s always a pleasure to meet remarkable women like Alex, making important contributions in her chosen field. We hope you hope enjoy the conversation and follow @CentreHealthSec.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, not many Australians could tell you who the state’s Chief Health Officer was. In this episode we talk to Professor Brett Sutton, the Chief Health Officer of Victoria, who in the last two years has become one of the most recognisable figures in Australian public health. We ask Professor Sutton about how the Victorian government has worked with marginalised populations and diverse subgroups during the pandemic, and what they have learnt along the way. Professor Sutton describes how the Department’s community engagement team scaled from 1 person to over 100 people during the pandemic, as they recognised the importance of a diverse team with the ability to connect and engage with individual communities. While he recognises that starting this process in the middle of a pandemic was not ideal, Professor Sutton talks about what he and his team have taken from the experience, and how it has fed into the vaccine rollout and broader public health policy in the state.It’s a fascinating discussion and we hope you join the conversation @CentreHealthSec
One thing we know about the COVID-19 pandemic is that not one state or organisation was adequately prepared for a health crisis of this scale. So, what have we learnt in the last two years about pandemic preparedness? How can states and global health organisations put in place the capacities to respond quickly to a fast-moving threat, and to cooperate across government to be able to prevent, detect and respond swiftly? In our first episode of 2022 we talk to Beth Cameron, Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense on the White House National Security Council. She was previously the Vice President, Global Biological Policy and Programs at Nuclear Threat Initiative and was instrumental in developing and launching the Global Health Security Agenda at the National Security Council during the Obama Administration.We spoke to Beth just after America released its new pandemic plan – American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming Our Capabilities. We talk about what this new plan entails and how global health security cooperation plays an important part of an effective pandemic response.We hope you listen and join the conversation @CentreHealthSec.
The latest episode in our Indo-Pacific Health Leaders series features Dr Karma Lhazeen, Director of the Department of Medical Services at the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Bhutan in conversation with Ambassador Stephanie Williams.Dr Lhazeen is a tropical medicine specialist, working as a malaria control program manger before becoming chief of the communicable disease division. Since March this year, she has served as the Chair of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network Vivax Working Group. Dr Lhazeen has overseen the national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in her country and was recently promoted to Director of the Department of Medical Services.For more information visit the Bhutan's Ministry of Health website.Plus the website of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance and the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network. 
Welcome to Contain This, brought to you by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, an initiative of the Australian Government housed at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We are proud to present our Annual Ruth Bishop Lecture, with Dr Sarthak Das APLMA.Dr Sarthak Das is the Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance. Sarthak joined APLMA from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and continues to hold a position as Senior Advisor for research translation and Global Health Policy at the Harvard Global Health Institute.His work has spanned diverse Asia-Pacific settings, in countries such as Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea, as well as in West Africa. It's his 25 years of experience as a public health scientist, development practitioner, and global health policy advisor that inspired this lecture.You can join the conversation via our social media channels, through @CentreHealthSec and @AusAmbRHS.
Welcome to Contain This brought to you by the Indo-Pacific Center for Health Security, an initiative of the Australian Government housed at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Today's episode is hosted by Francette Dusan, Senior Advisor at the Center. In today's episode, Francette speaks to Dr. Ari Probandari and Dr. Virginia Wiseman, from the PINTAR study, which is protecting Indonesia from the threat of antimicrobial resistance. PINTAR was launched in 2018 and focuses on combating the oversupply of antibiotics without prescription by private drug sellers in Indonesia, and the impact it has on antimicrobial resistance. This is the first episode in a two-part series on PINTAR. Our two guests reflect on leadership, their greatest career moments, and how they've managed the uncertainty of COVID-19. In the second of our two-part series, we'll talk about the great work that PINTAR is doing in Indonesia, so keep an eye out for that. You can learn more about the work of our guests via the following links: can join the conversation via our social media channels, through @CentreHealthSec and @AusAmbRHS.Enjoy the episode. 
Welcome to Contain This, brought to you by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, an initiative of the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.As we mark World AIDS Day on December 1, we bring you the story of one of our projects. The ACTUP-PNG project is founded on a long-term partnership with affected communities. In this episode, we discuss the exciting things the program is doing, with ACTUP's three Principal Investigators, Dr Janet Gare, head of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit at the PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR), Dr Angela Kelly-Hanku, who holds joint positions at PNGIMR and the University of New South Wales' Kirby Institute and Steven Badman from the Kirby Institute.You can learn more about the project here: can join the conversation on Twitter via @CentreHealthSec and @AusAmbRHS. Enjoy the episode.
Welcome to Contain This, brought to you by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, an initiative of the Australian Government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.This episode is hosted by Francette Dusan, Senior Advisor at the Centre. In today's episode, Francette speaks to members of the WISH Fiji Project Team. She is joined by the Chief Investigator for the project, Dr. Aaron Jenkins, Senior Research Fellow in Planetary Health at the University of Sydney and Edith Cowan University; Dr Donald Wilson, the Associate Dean for Research and Director of the new Fiji Institute of Pacific Health Research at Fiji National University; and Dr Stacey Jupiter, the Melanesia Regional Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society.If you missed our first episode on WISH Fiji in July 2021, you may like to pause now and scroll back to listen to the previous podcast. You can find more information on WISH Fiji here:, you can find information on the RISE Program here: can join the conversation on Twitter via @CentreHealthSec and @AusAmbRHS. Enjoy the episode.
Welcome to Contain This, brought to you by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, an initiative of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This episode is hosted by Francette Dusan, Senior Advisor at the Centre.In today’s episode, we speak to Dr Thu Anh Nguyen. Dr Thu Anh Nguyen is an infectious diseases and public health researcher. Her research focuses on detection and treatment of tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and more recently, Covid-19. You may recall we spoke to Thu Anh a year ago, about her work on V-Resist, a project addressing antimicrobial resistance in Vietnam. If you haven’t already, I suggest you pause now, and scroll back to August 2020 to listen to the previous podcast. You can find more information on V-Resist here: Today we catch up on Thu Anh’s work supporting the Covid-19 response in Vietnam, and how the response has intersected with other work on infectious diseases including tuberculosis. We chat about research partnerships, how these can work to generate evidence to inform country priorities and some of the lesson’s Thu Anh has learnt about leadership and communication. You can join the conversation via our social media channels. You can connect with us on Twitter via @CentreHealthSec and @AusAmbRHS.Enjoy the episode.
SARS has a mortality rate of 20-30 times of COVID. For the next pandemic what will we do? Head of the Centre Robin Davies talks with Richard Hatchett from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) about the work they are doing with the support of Australia and other countries to invest in research, production and distribution of vaccines to fight MERS, SARS and COVID. What are lessons for responding to emerging infectious diseases and the growing threat they pose to global health security?“We're a little over a year and a half into our relationship with this virus, and we've already delivered according to WHO, somewhere on the order of three and a half billion doses of vaccine, which is miraculous. No one would have predicted, you know, by the middle of 2021, that 3.5 billion doses of vaccine would have would have been delivered…but it’s not fast enough.”Links for further readinghttps://cepi.net #COVID19, #EndPandemics, #COVAX
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