News, Pacific

Pacific plan ‘encouraging’

A new Pacific health action plan’s cross-governmental approach to addressing not only diseases, but the underlying determinants of health such as education, housing and systems is encouraging, says HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi. The Ministry of Health developed ‘Ola Manuia: Pacific Health and Wellbeing Action Plan 2020–2025’ with input from Pacific communities, the health sector, and relevant government agencies. The plan builds on the successes of ‘Ala Mo’ui: Pathways to Pacific Health and Wellbeing 2014–2018’ (Ministry of Health 2014) and sets out priority outcomes and accompanying actions for the next five years to improve the health and wellbeing of the Pacific population living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Mr Tu’itahi says having ‘Thriving Pacific families…’ as a sub-theme of the plan can also open doors into closer collaboration with Pacific communities, tapping into one of the core strengths of Pacific communities – the family. “As seen in the Covid-19 situation, the adverse health and economic impact of the pandemic on Pacific peoples was largely cushioned by the collective and reciprocal dynamics of families and other Pacific institutions such as the Church and Pacific providers. “But the new plan’s outcomes of ‘Pacific people lead independent and resilient lives, longer good health and equitable health outcome’ can be realised if there is adequate resources allocated, a competent workforce, and close collaboration between Pacific communities, all providers, and public institutions. HPF’s Pacific Strategist Dr Viliami Puloka says the plan acknowledges the population dynamics with increasing number of Pacific migrants arriving in labour wards rather than airports or seaports. “The future generation of Pacific people will be New Zealand citizens by birth, and we must renew our minds and look at them with new eyes.  We appreciate the provision of resources, funding, trainings, and many Pacific targeted services in the name of equity and human rights.” The Associate Minister for Health Jenny Salesa says the plan was about driving more effective and equitable health outcomes for thousands of Pacific New Zealanders who call this country home. “The strength and resilience of New Zealand’s Pacific communities was strongly highlighted in the country’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak … Ola Manuia matches that with an equal level of commitment from our health and disability system. Developed with strong input from Pacific communities across New Zealand it builds on the momentum of what’s working well and provides clarity about where and how we can improve Pacific health outcomes,” says Ms Salesa. The plan can be used as a tool for planning, prioritising actions, and developing new and innovative methods of delivering results to improve Pacific health.