Pacific communities supported to transition to the COVID-19 Protection Framework

The Government has agreed to support Pacific health providers and communities’ transition to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio said.

The Government recognises that there is a clear need to prepare new systems and healthcare approaches, to protect and empower Pacific communities.

“This essential $10 million investment will go towards supporting the sustainability of our Pacific health providers in Auckland, Wellington, and the Waikato,” said Aupito William Sio.

“The investment will also enable increased and more coordinated community engagement to enable greater reach into Pacific communities that the system struggles to engage with.

“Pacific health providers have been the backbone of our COVID-19 response. They have consistently proven their ability to provide effective and meaningful response activities that make them a trusted contact and triage point for many families.

“However, delivering a comprehensive response throughout this pandemic is taking its toll on Pacific health provider’s workforce and their ability to deliver ‘business as usual’ services.

“Pacific health providers are under immense pressure and have had to temporarily reprioritise their workforce and business systems to respond to COVID-19. Reprioritisation of ‘business as usual’ health care services is no longer a sustainable option and is creating a backlog of unmet need among Pacific communities,” Aupito William Sio said.

The extra funding will allow Pacific health providers to adapt their business models to respond to the additional responsibility of rising Delta variant infections.

“Meaningful engagement has always been a key component of our public health response for Pacific communities. This type of engagement will look at Pacific churches, community-based groups who have lower vaccination rates, young people, businesses, and community leaders,” Aupito William Sio said.