Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID

  • Hon Jenny Salesa

The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19.

Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will:

  • Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand;
  • Ramp up public health messaging and guidance for Pacific communities in Pacific languages;
  • Roll out a new outreach programme putting non-clinical health support staff into Pacific communities, linking high-risk Pacific people with important services.

“New Zealand mobilised quickly against COVID-19 by locking the country down and encouraging people to stay at home. However, our Pacific communities face unique challenges that require a targeted response to keep our communities well and out of hospital emergency rooms,” Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa said.

“This response provides that, helping us  communicate with our Pacific communities in our own languages so people better understand what they need to do to combat the virus, and how they can obtain help when they need it,”

“It’s also about ensuring the continued availability of By-Pacific, For-Pacific health and disability services for Pacific people throughout this pandemic.

“Our Pacific communities are highly urbanised, with larger family sizes than the average population, and many are living in overcrowded housing. As a result, Pacific families face a higher risk of rapid COVID-19 spread if actions like those announced to stop the spread of the virus are not adhered to.

“Pacific communities also face greater challenges in accessing health and disability support services, which means they are at greater risk as services shift from traditional face-to-face practices to online in light of the virus. This Pacific health package keeps Pacific people connected to the critical health services that could literally save lives.

“Our Government continues to act decisively to protect those at greatest risk. In our COVID response, we are seeking to ensure no one is left behind. We are working to protect the health of New Zealanders and to keep businesses running and as many people as possible in jobs.

“It is now up to all of us Pacific families to do our part to stamp out COVID-19: stay at home, stay in your family bubble, wash your hands, be kind to each other, and save lives,” Jenny Salesa said.