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New health research partnership for Pacific people

New health research partnership for Pacific peoples

A major new research project on the health of Pacific peoples will be funded by a partnership between the government and the Wellcome Trust.

The five-year $17.5 million project will investigate health issues particularly affecting Pacific peoples, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases such as hepatitis, and respiratory diseases such as asthma.

The research and funding will begin in 2003-04, but the government has made the funding commitment in Budget 2002 to secure matching funding from the Wellcome Trust.

The trust, an international biomedical research funding agency, will contribute half the cost of the research. The government will contribute half at the rate of $1.75 million a year for the five years from 2003-04, of which $1 million a year is new funding and $750,000 is reallocated.

The Health Research Council, a government agency, will manage the fund.

“This is a very significant project that will bring the best biomedical research expertise in New Zealand to bear on serious health issues affecting Pacific peoples,” said Research, Science and Technology Minister Pete Hodgson. “The government is delighted that the Wellcome Trust is providing such a generous contribution.

“The new fund will focus on improving Pacific peoples’ health through research and building biomedical research capacity and capability in the Pacific community. The project will have a definite component of ‘for Pacific by Pacific’ research.

“Pacific people both in New Zealand and elsewhere will benefit from this project, which should reduce future healthcare costs. It also has the potential to produce commercially valuable discoveries.”


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