Taking action on Pacific health

  • Hon Jenny Salesa

The Government has announced work is under way on a new Pacific Health Action Plan in an important step towards improving the health and wellbeing of all Pacific people in New Zealand, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa.

It’s been a priority of mine, and of this entire Government, to improve health equities and outcomes as well as to improve access to quality healthcare for all New Zealanders,” Jenny Salesa says.

“It’s an unfortunate reality that there’s still much more work to be done to achieve health equities for Pacific people. That’s why it’s crucial we develop this new plan.

“I’ve asked officials at the Ministry of Health to develop the new plan and make sure it looks at all the key aspects of improving Pacific health outcomes.

“I also want to see officials working across the sector and across different government agencies to see what else is needed to improve the health of Pacific peoples. That could mean a renewed focus on health through broader social and economic factors outside the health system, such as housing and education.

“Ultimately, as Associate Minister of Health, my goal is simple – to see our people’s health and wellbeing flourish.

“That’s why the Government invested $12 million in this year’s Wellbeing Budget to tackle rheumatic fever, an entirely preventable disease for which Pacific people unfairly bear the brunt.

“Budget 2019 also included $14.3 million for a strengthened Pacific health workforce, $9.8 million to develop innovative Pacific community health initiatives, and significant investments into mental health and suicide prevention specifically targeted to Pacific peoples.

“The new Pacific Health Action Plan will replace the earlier ’Ala Mo’ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing which ran between 2014–2018.

“The Ministry’s evaluation of ‘Ala Mo’ui, published earlier this year, shows that while there have been some gains towards the improvement of Pacific people’s health, we all need to work harder and do a lot more if we are to achieve real gains and equity for all Pacific peoples.

“As part of the development process, the Ministry of Health will be holding a series of engagement forums to provide opportunities for the sector and community to have their say and contribute to the plan. For those who can’t make the forums, they’ll also be able to provide feedback online, by phone or post.

“This is a unique opportunity for our people to shape this new plan. I encourage Pacific peoples to have their say and help us make the changes we want to see,” Jenny Salesa says.