First Asian Health Report Launched

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English today launched the first report looking at the health of New Zealand's Asian population.

"More than four percent of New Zealand's population are Asian, which makes this a small but significant minority group. This report is an important first step towards learning more about their health needs.

"This is part of an inclusive approach to health where we are increasingly trying to tailor health services to the needs of particular groups in the community. To date we have worked fairly extensively on the health needs of communities and groups such as Pacific Island, Maori, children and rural people.

"This approach works better for these communities and there is strong support amongst them for a more responsive and adaptable public health service tailored to their needs.

"One of the two surveys released today found that health, family and employment were the most important things in the lives of 1,137 immigrant Asians living in the Auckland region.

"About half of those surveryed were relatively confident about knowing what to do if they or a family member faced a health crisis, although not surprisingly perhaps, language was the greatest barrier to seeking medical advice when they became ill.

"The second survey, of 38 doctors who have Asian patients, reported that Asians are quite health conscious and come to the doctor early when they feel sick. While they generally have better health than Maori and Pacific Island groups, they do not generally have a regular GP.

"The Health Funding Authority, which commissioned this report, plans to do further consultation with Asian communities outside Auckland to provide a national overview of Asian health needs. We must meet the health needs of all groups in our society and that means starting by understanding societal and cultural differences," said Mr English.