News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Director of Public Health To Join WHO

Director of Public Health to join World Health Organization

NEW Zealand's Director of Public Health Dr Colin Tukuitonga is taking on a new role with the World Health Organization (WHO), leading its research agenda for the global strategy against obesity.

As Director of Public Health for the last two years, Dr Tukuitonga has played a key role in raising the awareness of public health issues affecting New Zealanders, such as obesity and nutrition. But he says it's time for new challenges.

"I'm excited about helping make a difference at an international level, particularly given obesity is now a global problem. It's going to be particularly challenging coordinating such a large global response, and helping develop policies that will work for different countries, societies, and cultures," says Dr Tukuitonga.

Dr Tukuitonga, who will leave the Ministry in September, will lead the WHO's global research agenda to control obesity. According to the WHO, there are more than 300 million adults worldwide who are are clinically obese. Dr Tukuitonga will help develop a non-communicable diseases five-year global plan, policy interventions and preventions to reduce obesity, and secure a global fund to develop obesity research.

Dr Tukuitonga joined the Ministry in August 2001 as a leader in public and Pacific health. He says people's attitudes toward public health messages, such as healthy eating and exercising more, cannot be changed overnight but he hopes that he has helped plant the seeds for change.

"I believe there's a greater awareness now in New Zealand of the risks of obesity and the effects of not living a healthy lifestyle. The Ministry led the way with Healthy Eating, Healthy Action, a national framework for action against obesity, bad eating habits and lack of exercise. It encourages support and buy-in from NGO's, the Government and individuals, and it's also the kind of strategy which can be useful to draw-on for the global response to curbing obesity," says Dr Tukuitonga.

He is also proud of work gone into developing a National Immunisation Register, expected to be implemented nationwide by the end of next year.

Deputy Director-General of Public Health Dr Don Matheson, says Dr Tukuitonga is one of New Zealand's most respected public health professionals. And Director-General of Health, Dr Karen Poutasi, says Dr Tukuitonga has made an "extraordinary contribution" to public health in this country.

"He's shown enormous commitment to lifting the profile of major public health issues affecting New Zealanders today such as cancer, obesity, and nutrition. He's also made an excellent leader throughout the Ministry's response to SARS," says Dr Poutasi.

"His appointment is a tribute to his expertise which has gained high respect in the global arena. While he'll no longer be occupying one of our desks, we look forward to continuing to work with him on obesity because it's an issue that affects all countries," says Dr Poutasi.

"It's great to see our public health leaders making their mark overseas. Leading New Zealand public health academic, Dr Robert Beaglehole, was recently appointed Director of the Evidence and Information for Policy Cluster for the WHO."

Before joining the Ministry, Dr Tukuitonga was a Harkness Fellow in health care policy in the United States. In his new role, he will be based at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the WHO is benefiting from the expertise of other another Ministry employee. Dr Douglas Lush, the Ministry's senior communicable diseases advisor, and more recently SARS clinical director, is on three-month secondment to the WHO.

Dr Lush is supporting the WHO's SARS Scientific Advisory Committee by undertaking a systematic review of SARS literature and field reports towards a global summary of surveillance and research needs. He's also providing technical input into revising SARS case definitions, and developing a global SARS surveillance framework.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news