Clockwise from left: Public Health Course for Hearing Impairment participants; Dr Silina Motofaga from the Pacific Community at the Pacific Regional meeting; Public Health Course participants hard at work at the Tāmaki Innovation Campus; Participants of the Pacific Regional Meeting outside the Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland; Dr Shelly Chadha telling us about her career pathway to the World Health Organisation; Prof. Peter Thorne thanking Prof. Andrew Smith for delivering the Course


Tuesday the 22 October saw participants from around the Pacific Region gather at the Tāmaki Innovation Campus at the University of Auckland to kick off our Public Health Course on Hearing Impairment. 

12 doctors and nurses working in ENT clinics in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands joined participants from audiology clinics, NGOs and professional organisations from around New Zealand for an intensive 4 days of learning about public health approaches to hearing loss. 

Delivered by Prof. Andrew Smith from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the course covered Public Health Planning from strategies for prevention through population-based survey methods and health economics to monitoring and evaluation of public health programs.  Participants also worked together for the 4 days developing their own Public Health Projects that utilised all of their learnings and final presentations of these projects were excellent. 

Feedback on the course was overwhelmingly positive, with all participants indicating they would recommend to others, although our Pacific colleagues did find Auckland a little chilly in October!


For a taste of what the course delivered, head to our webinar page, where our November webinar features Prof. Smith discussing “Challenges and Opportunities for Global Public Hearing Health”.


The Pacific Regional Meeting on Ear and Hearing Care followed the course and was also hosted by the EMC, in conjunction with the World Health Organisation.  

Dr Shelly Chadha, the Medical Officer for the WHO programme for prevention of deafness and hearing loss, joined us for the meeting alongside the NZ Ministry of Health and a number of other professional organisations and NGO’s from around the Pacific. 

There was a fantastic sense of community throughout the meeting and a shared vision and passion for the cause, with much of the discussion focusing on improvement of service delivery in the Pacific region as well as the development of advocacy and prevention programmes. 

The key outcome of the meeting was that the Pacific ENT and Audiology Group (PENTAG) should be established as an organisation to lead this work going forwards. 

Three PENTAG members are also members of the EMC – Dr Sione Pifeleti from Samoa, Dr Chunghyeon Oh from Fiji and Dr Sepiuta Lopati from Tonga – look out for profiles of our Pacific Colleagues in 2020!


We would like to gratefully acknowledge the following for the generous support of the Public Health Course and the Pacific Regional  meeting:


  • World Health Organisation
  • The Raymond Forbes Wilson Estate managed by Perpetual Guardian Trusts
  • The Pacific Community
  • National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • Brain Research New Zealand