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Commonwealth Health Meeting Going Ahead

31 October 2001

Health Minister Annette King says she is delighted the current international situation will not stop the 13th Commonwealth Health Ministers' Meeting (13CHMM) in Christchurch from going ahead.

“Overseas events are affecting the ability of some senior government figures to travel, but more than 30 delegations, most headed by Ministers, have registered so far,” Mrs King said. The meeting is being held from November 25 to 29.

"Registrations are coming in from every part of the Commonwealth, with a particularly good response from African countries."

Mrs King will chair the meeting, with Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia heading the New Zealand delegation.

“The agenda issued by the Commonwealth Secretariat is comprehensive, with an overall focus on the best way for health systems to set priorities. Within this theme topics such as workforce issues and HIV/AIDS are specific items.

"The Commonwealth views this meeting as one of the most important in recent years. It comes at a time when governments in both developed and developing Commonwealth countries are having to address growing public demand for quality health care services in the face of financial and workforce challenges."

Mrs King said that Commonwealth health systems were being “challenged as never before by the need to respond to pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and more recently the threat posed by bio-terrorism.

"These highlight not just issues of medicine and health care delivery, but also the ethical, equity and economic issues that relate to the pharmaceutical industry, questions of common international standards, environmental security and trans-border flow of drugs and bio-agents, and access to health care."

Mrs King said Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon had “noted with satisfaction the excellent preparation already carried out by the New Zealand team and the Commonwealth Secretariat to ensure a successful meeting”.


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