Pacific, Policy, What is HP
South West Pacific health promotion leaders have undertaken in March to develop a work plan that includes research, New Zealand representation at global health promotion meetings and to develop a health promotion work plan for the region.   swp-map   The decisions were taken at a March meeting of the South West Pacific regional committee of the International Union of Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) Health promotion work plan for the South West Pacific The committee is to begin work on a plan for health promotion development for the South West Pacific region. Priority areas for the three-year plan include
  • workforce development
  • research,
  • indigenous health promotion and health issues.
Research The meeting approved a submission from HPF to investigate some of the challenges that face the discipline of health promotion and its practitioners in the region. These include policy decisions that disadvantage certain sectors of the community, job-losses due to the recession and research on the effectiveness of health promotion. Indigenous NZ health promotion advances Two new members were welcomed onto the committee, further strengthening region’s indigenous health promotion work.  Dr Viliami Puloka, a health promotion team leader at the Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC), is based in Noumea, New Caledonia.  His appointment is the first from a small Pacific nation in ten years. Trevor Simpson, Deputy Executive Director at HPF was also co-opted onto the committee, taking advantage of his work as a member of the Regional Indigenous Health Promotion Working Group of IUHPE. Already in place is Dr Heather Gifford:chair of the SWP regional indigenous health promotion working group and co-chair of the IUHPE global working group for indigenous health promotion. As a member of the global executive board of the IUHPE, Sione Tu’itahi was tasked with keeping indigenous health promotion on the agenda at all meetings. “This is great news for both Maori and Pacific health promotion,” he said. “Our progress and positive experience with Indigenous health promotion in New Zealand is leading the way at a global level”. Sione Tu’itahi is executive director of the HPF, vice-president of the South West Pacific region of the IUHPE and a member of its global executive board. The South West Pacific region of IUHPE includes New Zealand, Australia three countries in South East Asia and all other 22 Pacific small nations and territories. Its regional office is co-hosted by HPF and the Health Promotion and Research and Evaluation Unit of the School of Public Health, University of Otago.   30 April 2014   By Sione Tu-itahi Editor: Jo Lawrence-King  

Highlights from the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion

– “Best Investment for Health” IUHPE President Michael Sparks took time out of his busy schedule to present the highlights of the conference for HPF.  The 21st International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion in Pattaya Thailand was noted for its truly global focus.   More than 2,000 delegates, from over 80 countries attended the event this August.   The theme – ‘Best Investment for Health” – provided many opportunities to discuss and debate this crucial question, as well as to share good practice, network and socialise. It was the first time the conference was held in a developing Asian nation.  This gave participants from the region an unprecedented opportunity to participate.  In turn, it afforded a greater understanding among all participants of the varying levels of investment in health promotion across countries and of the broad range of issues affecting the practice of health promotion across the different contexts.
Highlights of the 21st International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) World Conference on Health Promotion:
  • Presentations on work done in the South West Pacific region with Māori and indigenous Australian populations; including a well-received presentation from HPF’s Deputy Executive Director, Trevor Simpson.
  • South West Pacific regional office of the IUHPE now hosted in New Zealand, with HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi now Vice-President of the this regional arm.
  • An emerging issue around tobacco in Thailand during the conference provided an opportunity for delegates to throw their support behind moves to strengthen tobacco control there.
  • New awards were created for ‘most liked poster’ and ‘health promotion practice.
  • Wrap-up of the conference.

New Zealand contribution

Of particular interest was the work done by the IUHPE’s Indigenous Health Promotion Network. Work done in the South West Pacific region with Māori and Indigenous Australian populations is often viewed as cutting edge and sessions were well attended by conference participants from other countries.  Presentations from the region included a well-received one by HPF’s Deputy Executive Director Trevor Simpson. Another development of particular interest to health promoters of Aotearoa New Zealand was the shifting of the leadership in the South West Pacific region of the IUHPE to this country.  The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand Executive Director, Sione Tu’itahi, has been elected Vice-President of the South West Pacific Region of IUHPE, while Associate Professor Louise Signal, Director of the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit (HePPRU) and Health, Wellbeing & Equity Impact Assessment Research Unit (HIA), Department of Public Health,  Otago University is its Regional  Director.  Until now these positions have been drawn from Australia for many year.

Delegates weighed in to support local battle to improve tobacco control in Thailand

During the conference there were also interesting developments in relation to local tobacco controls.   The tobacco Giant Philip Morris challenged in court the Thai Ministry of Public Health’s legislation to increase health warnings on cigarette packages to 85% of the outer surface.  The country’s lower court issued an injunction against the Public Health Ministry to suspend enforcement of the regulations. Informed of these developments, conference delegates took action: developing a letter of support to the minister and petitioning the IUHPE General Assembly to write to the minister.  Delegates also participated in a local media event to publicise the global support for tobacco control clearly evident at the conference. Following the conference The Ministry, encouraged by the support from the global health promotion community, has appealed against the injunction to the Supreme Court.  A ruling is expected late this year or early in 2014.

New awards created

Two new awards were created this year:  the “most liked” daily poster session and the “Health Promotion Practice” awards.  Recipients of the latter were three distinguished practitioners:
  • Dr. Gene R.Carter, the Executive Director and CEO of ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)
  • Prof.Prakit Vathesatogkit, Executive Secretary, The Action on Smoking and Health Foundation
  • Dr. Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III, Lecturer, University of Liverpool
              Article by: Michael Sparks Editor: Jo Lawrence-King Published: November 2013

Commission on Global Governance for Health calls on national governments to address global political determinants An in-depth paper published in The Lancet in February 2014 urges policy makers to recognise and address global political determinants of health inequity.  “Grave health inequity is morally unacceptable,” the authors say; it is a “global political responsibility” to ensure “transnational activity does not hinder people from attaining their full health potential.” The paper, produced by the Commission on Global Governance for Health challenges the ‘biological’ argument for health inequalities and places the main responsibility for them firmly at the feet of national governments around the world; calling on them to redress the imbalance of fairness and justice that currently exist.  “Despite large gains in health over the past few decades, the distribution of health risks worldwide remains extremely and unacceptably uneven,” say the paper’s authors. “Health equity should be a cross-sectoral political concern, since the health sector cannot address these challenges alone”. The Commission recognises the crucial role of the health sector in addressing health inequalities it points out that the sectors efforts  “often come into conflict with powerful global actors in pursuit of other interests such as protection of national security, safeguarding of sovereignty, or economic goals.” “This is a timely development for the discourse about our health and the wellbeing of our planet,” says HPF Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi. “What happens at the international level impacts directly on the local level, whether we like it or not: take global warming and trade, for example. Worldwide political determinants are rising fast but our governance and policy framework are still largely focused on local and national interests at the expense of our collective wellbeing. As a global family, we can no longer afford to focus on the room that we occupy when the whole house is battered by the storm.” The political origins of health inequity: prospects for change   The Lancet, Volume 383, Issue 9917, Pages 630 – 667, 15 February 2014 Access the article online at The Lancet here (you will need to register, but it is free)           February 2014 Jo Lawrence-King

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published five new policy guides for addressing health inequity.  The guides have been produced by New Zealand Doctor Belinda Loring, a past Fellow of Health Promotion Forum with a strong interest in health equity and action on the social determinants of health.  While she was still in New Zealand Dr Loring worked on health equity and public health at local, regional and national government levels, with a strong focus on Māori health inequities.   The equity action spectrum: taking a comprehensive approach Alcohol and inequities Injuries and inequities Obesity and inequities Tobacco and inequities