And I extend a very warm welcome to you all on the behalf of the Government and the people of Vanuatu. Vanuatu is very proud to play host to your conference, 24 years after hosting your first ever conference after the birth of your society.

you theme: "Reproductive Health and the Sustainable Development Goals- catalysts for accelerating progress cuts to the heart of what the World Health Organisation, the international community and indeed Vanuatu and all other Pacific island Countries are aiming to achieve in the next  years.

Our collective aim is to identify, support and promote catalysts and actions that will lead to sustainable and better health our people. Vanuatu welcomes ideas from our friends in the pacific so that we can identify our catalyst for accelerating progress. And i am sure that you will also learn for Vanuatu's experience in progressing development in primary health care outcomes, despite natural disasters and limited resources, Mutual sharing of ideas and experience can only create a healthy, prosperous and peaceful Pacific region. I shall call it Pacific partnership for accelerating progress in the sustainable development goals.

Yours society has invested huge energies since your creation  years ago in building partnerships within the medical, nursing and midwifery professions. You have, for instance, brought together nurse, midwives, doctors, obstetricians and gynecologists from most of the pacific Island countries, as well as from Australia and New Zealand. I note the huge achievements you made I growing yours inclusiveness and membership, the inroads you have made to work with funders and government and the significant strides you have made in professional development. Your society has provides platforms for clinicians and researchers to disseminate and celebrate their work, to publish important research finding in your own scientific publication, the pacific journal of Reproductive Health. You have develop workshops that are contextualized to the Pacific setting, including the founding of the Pacific Emergency Maternal and Neonatal outcomes in many pacific countries. I congratulate and applaud your efforts. All these initiatives are targeting important areas of capacity development and sustainability. It is particularly pleasing that you are using your networks for the professional development of your members, linking scientific research and theories with clinical practices and experiences. These contribute to significant improvements to woman's and their families health outcomes.

I am informed that you have already had workshop in six critical areas of your profession. You have been assisted in this by international faculties from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Many of your faculties have contributed to the training and development of many country's medical and midwifery workforce.

From tomorrow, you will have an interesting and wide-ranging series of presentation and discussion on important areas of gender-based violence, family planning, quality care in pregnancy and childbirth, cervical cancer, non-communicable diseases, workforce and leadership.

Life in the Pacific is changing and life style behaviors are threatening the health of our people. The problems with non-communicable disease continues to grow and it is challenging the health of our people and the foundation of our health systems. Cervical cancer, a preventable disease, is killing the women of the Pacific, many pregnancies remain unplanned, teen mothers remain a cause for concern and sexually transmitted infections are prevalent. Our people must be empowered to fully enjoy life's potential.

I note that you are also discussing team building in clinical practice. This underscores the need for all of you to work together, bring in you different levels of experience, build on your strengths and help each other so that together you can look after all those who depend on you for their health care.

Women's and children's health remain vital. More attention to strengthening families is important and professional development is essential. The healthy islands setting seek to sustain Pacific Island societies by protecting the respect and dignity of all its people, including protecting and nurturing children, treating all with dignity and respect; ensuring zero tolerance of domestic violence and gender based violence, and treating the environment with sense of pride. We in the natural Pacific have a natural environment which is beautiful and natural resources are plentiful. Our people should be enjoying good health and not succumbing to disease.

Your conference will undoubtedly be of great interest to all our Pacific people as we continue the journey towards sustainable development an healthy living. I look forward with interest to the role your society and its partners will play in the implementation of the SDGs in the Pacific and in Vanuatu.

I am, therefore, happy that my government and the people of Vanuatu, are supporting your conference, and hosting your for the next few days. I hope that i am not biased as i am sure you will agree that Port Vila is probably the most beautiful lagoon township in the whole Pacific. so take time to explore the town and do stay longer to enjoy hospitality of our people. Spend a bit more while you are there, for in doing so, you are also indirectly assisting in our development.

Like many of your partners, I look forward to learning of the outcomes of your deliberations. I hope that this Conference will reaffirm commitments and Galvanize our efforts toward laying a strong foundation for accelerate progress toward universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

With these words, i now have the honor and pleasure to declare your conference open.

 

Thank you very much for your attention

 

 

 

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