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Pacific Emphasis in Health Strategy

Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Mark Gosche today welcomed the emphasis on the health of Pacific people in the New Zealand Health Strategy, which was launched by Health Minister Annette King in Porirua today.

Mr Gosche said the NZHS listed one of its immediate objectives as addressing the health disparities suffered by Pacific peoples.

"Pacific peoples and particularly our Pacific children experience huge health disparities compared to other New Zealanders and today's strategy is a major step forward," he said.

"This strategy seeks to stengthen primary health initiatives, improves the health of Pacific youngsters, target mental health services, enhance screening programmes and boost the number of Pacific people working in the health workforce."

The NZHS also specifically referred to the development of a Pacific Health Strategy, Mr Gosche said. "That strategy will address public health, health promotion and health protection programmes. It will also address primary care programmes to improve access to quality programmes for Pacific people, especially in areas where they live and work

"The strategy will also seek to improve community services for key Pacific health issues such as diabetes, asthma, paediatrics, mental health and maternity services, to build a stronger Pacific health workforce and to improve the collection of quality Pacific health information."

Mr Gosche said the NZHS provided a framework for improving the health of all New Zealanders, and recognised that Closing the Gaps was an essential element of this framework.

END

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