Forum discusses health issues affecting Apec nations

THE Life Sciences Innovation Forum was held in Port Moresby yesterday as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) first senior officials meeting.

It is a body where Apec members discuss and develop solutions to health issues faced by member economies.
National Health Services Standard deputy secretary Dr Paison Dakulala noted how developments in this area led to “healthy economies”.

“The applied life sciences are critical to growth and socioeconomic development because healthy people produce healthy economies, innovations to make patient focused products and services which are efficient, effective and available,” he said.

“For example, (they) can improve a population’s longevity, wellness, productivity and economic potential.”

He also noted what Health and HIV-AIDS Minister Sir Puka Temu said about the forum being a key part of Apec.
Its achievements include:

  • The approval of Apec Life Science Strategic Plan in 2004 that contains recommendations for collective action and implementation schedule;
  • developing enablers investment checklist in 2007 that allows policy makers in Apec economies to assess their investment environment for life science innovation; and,
  • Creating the Health Science Academy for the region to further knowledge of health and health science innovations.



Coconut oil producer sees Apec as road to new markets

HANAMOA Organics, the producer of local virgin coconut oil from Abau, Central, hopes to expand its market opportunities during the Apec meetings.

Hanomoa Organics representative Karo Martin said the company was excited about the opportunity to expose its products through its small and medium-sized enterprise stall at the meeting venue in Port Moresby. The family business processes coconuts into cold-pressed organic virgin oil and soap products.

“We’ve been producing virgin coconut oil, soap and body wash locally for customers in Port Moresby on a small scale,” Martin said.

“We want to introduce our products to the world through Apec, and find someone who can link us to markets and finally get our products launched.
“Bottling the product is a problem because of the cost involved in importing non-lid bottles from Australia and purchasing lids elsewhere.”

Committee of Trade and Investments co-chairperson Julie Wapo said she understood the struggles of local SMEs. “We are looking at ways to assist our SMEs and how we can facilitate their needs, getting the right regulations in place,” she said.

“It will cost an SME K3 million to bottle coconut products and have it available on a world market. We are looking at a right policy that will change the landscape of how people will benefit.”