Challenges to implementation and strengthening of initial COVID-19 surveillance in Vanuatu: January–April 2020
The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is vulnerable to emerging infectious diseases, including epidemics and pandemics; chronic food and water insecurity; and natural hazards, including cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and flooding. In March 2020, the World Health Organization characterized the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a global pandemic. By the end of April 2020, Vanuatu had reported no confirmed cases of COVID-19. Data from several sources are collected in Vanuatu’s COVID-19 surveillance system to provide an overview of the situation, including data from case investigations and management, syndromic surveillance for influenza-like illness, hospital surveillance and laboratory surveillance. Review of data collected from January to the end of April 2020 suggests that there was no sustained increase in influenza-like illness in the community and no confirmed cases were identified. Lessons learnt from the early implementation of surveillance activities, the changing landscape of laboratory testing and pharmaceutical interventions, as well as the global experience, particularly in other Pacific island countries, will inform the refinement of COVID-19 surveillance activities in Vanuatu.
World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific. Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies (APSED III): Advancing implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005). Manila, Philippines; 2017.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)Situation Report –101 [press release]. Geneva20 April, 2020.
The Pacific Community. Dr Paula Vivili, Director of SPC’s Public Health division, discusses COVID-19 in the Pacific. 2020.
Vanuatu Ministry of Health. COVID-19 Health Sector Preparedness and Response Plan, v3 (8 April 2020). Port Vila, Vanuatu: Vanuatu Ministry of Health; 2020.
World Meteorological Organization. Tropical Cyclone Harold challenges disaster and public health management 2020 [
Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office. Situation Update 02: Tropical Cyclone Harold 2020 [cited 2020 8/5/20]. Available from: https://ndmo.gov.vu/tropical-cyclone-harold/category/99-situation-update-infograph#.
World Health Organization. Global Surveillance for human infection with coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 2020.
World Health Organization. Laboratory testing strategy recommendations for COVID. 2020.
Kool JL, Paterson B, Pavlin BI, Durrheim D, Musto J, Kolbe A. Pacific-wide simplified syndromic surveillance for early warning of outbreaks. Glob Public Health. 2012;7(7):670-81.
Vanuatu Ministry of Health. Vanuatu Situation Report 3 - 23 March 2020 Port Vila: Vanuatu Ministry of Health 23 March 2020 [Available from: https://covid19.gov.vu/images/Situation-reports/Situation_Report_3.pdf.
U.S Food & Drug Administration. Emergency Use Authorizations. In: Cepheid, editor.: US Food & Drug Administration; 20 March, 2020.
World Health Organization Representative Office for the South Pacific. Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pacific Preparedness & Response: Joint External Situation Report #10 2 April 2020 [Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/wpro---documents/dps/outbreaks-and-emergencies/covid-19/covid-19-pacific-situation-report-10.pdf?sfvrsn=b1c45d82_6.
Wu Z, McGoogan JM. Characteristics of and Important Lessons From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China: Summary of a Report of 72314 Cases From the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Jama. 2020.
Kvalsvig A, Telfar Barnard L, Gray L, Wilson N, Baker M. Supporting the COVID-19 pandemic response: Surveillance and Outbreak Analytics. University of Otago Wellington; 20 March, 2020.
© World Health Organization (WHO) 2018. Some rights reserved.
The articles in this publication are published by the World Health Organization and contain contributions by individual authors. The articles are available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO license (CC BY 3.0 IGO http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/igo/legalcode), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. In any use of these articles, there should be no suggestion that WHO endorses any specific organization, products or services. The use of the WHO logo is not permitted.
Please cite the articles as follows: [Author names]. [Article title]. Western Pac Surveill Response J. [Year]; [Volume] ([Issue]). [doi number] [pmid number]
For example, Hoy D, Saketa ST, Maraka RR, Sio A, Wanyeki I, Frison P, et al. Enhanced syndromic surveillance for mass gatherings in the Pacific: a case study of the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in Solomon Islands, 2012. Western Pac Surveill Response J. 2016;7:3. doi:10.5365/wpsar.2016.7.1.004 pmid:27766181
License: Creative Commons BY 3.0 IGO
The World Health Organization does not necessarily own each component of the content contained within these articles and does not therefore warrant that the use of any third-party-owned individual component or part contained in the articles will not infringe on the rights of those third parties. The risk of claims resulting from such infringement rests solely with you. If you wish to re-use a component of the articles attributed to a third party, it is your responsibility to determine whether permission is needed for that re-use and to obtain permission from the copyright owner. Examples of components can include, but are not limited to, tables, figures or images.
Any mediation relating to disputes arising under this license shall be conducted in accordance with the WIPO Mediation Rules (www.wipo.int/amc/en/mediation/rules). Any inquiries should be addressed to email@example.com.
License to publish
Western Pacific Surveillance and Response is an open access journal and requires each author of a contribution to grant the World Health Organization (the Publisher) a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution IGO License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/igo/legalcode) for the term of copyright and any extensions thereof. This includes to publish, re-publish, transmit, sell, distribute and otherwise use the article in the Journal, in whole or as a part. This is done by signing the WPSAR License to publish form.
The designations employed and the presentation of the information on this website do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the World Health Organization concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
The mention of specific companies or of certain manufacturers' products does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by the World Health Organization in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. Errors and omissions excepted, the names of proprietary products are distinguished by initial capital letters.
Links to third-party websites
The World Health Organization does not warrant that the information contained on the website is complete and correct and shall not be liable whatsoever for any damages incurred as a result of its use.