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Pacific health focus of short course

More than 20 participants who attended a Pacific health course in Wellington on Monday, February 10 now have a better understanding of health issues facing Pacific people and how to help improve Pacific health outcomes.

The Introduction to Pacific health: Approaches for action course which is part of Otago University’s Summer School line-up of courses from February 10 – 28 was also held in Auckland at the University of Otago House in the Auckland CBD last Friday (February 14).

The course was coordinated by HPF’s Dr Viliami Puloka, who presented “What does it mean to be ‘Pacific?’”, and Otago University’s Dr Moira Smith.

HPF’s executive director, Sione Tu’itahi who also held a session at the course told participants the future for Pacific people was bright, despite their wellbeing still being the poorest in many areas.

Mr Tu’itahi who spoke on “Preparing the Workforce” said many lessons had been learned from at least “200 years of resilience, patience and high sense of justice of Tangata Whenua”.

He pointed out that a new cultural evolution was emerging; our nation was more mature as evidential in a more caring and compassionate leadership, more people were not accepting inequities as the norm and we were one with our environment.

“Pacific peoples are increasingly realising their own collective strengths and capacities as seen in their leadership in many fields such as politics, arts, culture, sports and education,” he said.

“Greater collaborative effort and transformational leadership across all sectors, and at levels, must be translated into action, if we are to improve the wellbeing of Pacific and all peoples. Let’s train the Pacific professional workforce, as well as the voluntary, community workforce to become social change agents, the owners and leaders of their wellbeing and future.”

Pictured at the course last monday from left, Dr Viliami Puloka, Research Fellow with Otago University; Margaret Southwick, Primary Health Care Organisations and Practitioners; Brad Watson, Otago University; Dr Moira Smith; Laupepa Va’a, Ministry of Health; Dr Aivi Puloka, Waitemata DHB and HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi.