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The 2007 Pacific Island Tuberculosis Controllers Association Meeting Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Sponsored by CDC and the Pacific Island Health Officers Association, in conjunction with the national government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the 5th annual Pacific Island Tuberculosis Controllers Association (PITCA) workshop was held November 26–30, 2007, at the College of Micronesia-FSM. An important milestone was reached for this PITCA meeting with the event being moved for the first time out of Honolulu and into the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPIs).

Over 90 individuals attended this meeting, with representatives from each of the six USAPIs: American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the FSM, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Not surprisingly, more PITCA participants were sponsored from the four FSM states than from any other single USAPI. In general, USAPI PITCA representatives include TB administrators, TB controllers, TB nurses, and TB laboratory staff. This year, PITCA participants benefited from professional faculty from a variety of organizations, including DTBE in Atlanta (Phil Talboy, Kashef Ijaz, Thomas Shinnick, Andy Heetderks, and Alstead Forbes); the Health and Human Services Region 9 Office of Pacific Health and Human Services; the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific Regional Office in Manila; the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in New Caledonia; the Australian Respiratory Council; the California State Microbial Disease Laboratory; the new Pacific TB regional reference laboratory, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc., based in Honolulu, Hawaii; the Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii; and the Francis J. Curry National TB Center in San Francisco, California.

Image of Attendees sitting listening to the TB 101 presentation.Shown in the photo are the U.S. Ambassador to FSM, Mimi Hughes, Alstead Forbes, Program Consultant, DTBE, and others attending a TB 101 presentation by Dr. Kashef Ijaz during the 2007 PITCA workshop.

 

The format for success that PITCA organizers employ each year involves 3 days of plenary sessions, as well as 2 days of breakout sessions. The first day’s plenary session includes a status report from all of the USAPIs and represented agencies on their success in reaching the past year’s goals and objectives, and any specific barriers and challenges faced. PITCA’s day 5 plenary session concludes with the USAPI participants setting goals, objectives, and activities for the next year, including measures for evaluation, timelines, and the office or person responsible for attaining each goal. The 2 days of breakout sessions are concurrent sessions specific for the laboratory, nursing, and clinical staff attending the meeting. Major concerns raised at the meeting are discussed with the expert faculty, with many resolved prior to the conclusion of the PITCA meeting. The issues not resolved are addressed as goals, objectives, or activities the following year.

The topics of the sessions presented at this year’s PITCA meeting included monitoring and evaluation of TB program data, TB drug issues, review of shipping protocols from the International Air Transportation Association, issues from TB laboratory onsite evaluations, genotyping, contact investigations, problem-based learning for clinical cases, and expert medical consultation. Participants were treated to a premier of a new TB educational film developed by the Micronesian Seminar, made possible in part through funding by the U.S. Office of Minority Health. In addition, attendees were able to make side trips to the Pohnpei State Hospital, laboratory, and public health clinics. The next PITCA meeting will be in Honolulu, Hawaii, December 1–5, 2008.

—Reported by Andy Heetderks
Div of TB Elimination

 
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