The concept of a Pacific Society emerged in 1993 in Suva, Fiji by a group of reproductive health professionals who met at an educational meeting organized by the Fiji School of Medicine and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecological (RANZCOG). Their vision was to establish a Society that fosters continuing medical education and ongoing support for reproductive, maternal and newborn health among Pacific health professionals. The Society would support various forms of capacity building, partnerships, conferences, meetings and networking. The name South Pacific Regional Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society (SPROGS) was given at that time. RANZCOG through the commitment of Professor Brian Spurret supported the initiative and made it possible for the Secretariat to be located at the College House in Melbourne during its early development.
1995 – The first inaugural meeting of the Society was held in Port Vila, Vanuatu. A structured executive committee was established to run the affairs of the Society. Dr Wame Baravilala (Fiji) was elected the first President. He was the Dean of the Fiji School of Medicine and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
1997 – At the biennial meeting in Apia, Samoa the name changed to Pacific Society for Reproductive Health (PSRH), a change put forward by country members to reflect the inclusiveness of country membership. The term “Reproductive Health” in the Society name also broadens the core business of the Society so that other health professionals become members including midwives, nurses, non-O&G doctors, researchers and academics.
Thereafter, PSRH conferences have been held every two years, preceded by a series of technical skills building workshops on specific topics to respond to the needs of both doctors and midwives. Locations of biennial conferences are listed below:
1999 – Suva, Fiji. The Secretariat was moved to Fiji School of Medicine.
2001 – Madang, Papua New Guinea
2003 – Nadi, Fiji. The Secretariat moved to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, SPC
2005 – Nadi, Fiji
In April 2006 the Secretariat moved to the Pacific Women’s Health Research & Development Unit which was set up by Dr Alec Ekeroma. The Unit was under the auspices of the University of Auckland and the Counties Manukau District Health Board, New Zealand. The PSRH became registered for the first time as a Charitable Trust with the NZ Charities commission in August 2008 when Salausa Dr John Ah Ching was President and Dr Ekeroma was instrumental in realising that move. The Secretariat was moved to Aiono Dr Alec Ekeroma’s private practice at 525 Remuera Rd, Remuera, Auckland in 2012 as the University no longer had office space for the Trust.
2007 – Apia, Samoa
2009 – New Zealand hosted (Auckland)
2011 – Solomon Islands hosted (Honiara)
2013 – Samoa hosted (Apia)
2015 – Fiji hosted (Suva)
2017 – Port Vila, Vanuatu
2019 – Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
1995-1999: Dr Wame Baravilala (First president, Fiji)
1999-2001: Dr Emosi Puni (Samoa)
2001-2003 Prof Glen Mola (PNG)
2003-2007: Dr Rufina Latu (Fiji)
2007-2011: John Ah Ching (Samoa)
2011-2015: Dr Alec Ekeroma (NZ)
2015-2017: Ms Kathleen Gapirongo (Sol)
2017-current: Dr Pushpa Nusair (Fiji)
PSRH has gained new heights in the last 25 years of development. It is the only Society in the Pacific whose membership includes doctors, midwives and nurses. It has a unique organization that engages both doctors and midwives in maternal and reproductive health, and has maintained its relevance in the Pacific.
- Its biennial conferences have been successfully conducted in the last 20 years
- It has conducted numerous up-skilling training activities for health professionals, inclusive of midwifery and specialist doctors
- Expended its membership for building a stronger Society
- Engaged new partners for joint efforts towards common goals
- Developed stronger links with UNFPA, who has the global mandate for reproductive health
- Conducted various types of capacity building in collaboration with RANZCOG and other partners
- Reaffirmed its commitment for a regional initiative and moving together to shape the direction of Reproductive Health in the Pacific.
As PSRH enters its 25th year, we salute the dedicated members of the Secretariat and Board for keeping the organizational affairs afloat. Appreciation goes to RANZCOG who contributed significantly in the early development of PSRH and continues to assist. We also thank the members across the Pacific, NZ and Australia for your dedication and support; and to the professional partners and donors for believing and trusting in the work that PSRH does.
The future of PSRH depends on a strong Secretariat, an effective Board and dedicated members and partners to work jointly in supporting organizational growth and development.