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First men’s health meeting a success: O’Connor

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health

23 April 2008 Media Statement

First men’s health meeting a success: O’Connor

Better coordination between existing men’s health initiatives was the objective of a meeting called in Wellington last night by Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor.

Mr O’Connor said the meeting was the first step in a process he has initiated to put men’s health on the national agenda.

“To get the ball rolling I thought it important to get a few key representatives around the table. Men’s health is a new delegation under the health portfolio and I am committed to making progress in this area. Already there is a growing awareness of the need and value of reducing the health disparities for too many men in New Zealand,” said Mr O’Connor.

The Minister said issues discussed included informing one another of existing men’s health initiatives, looking to include key targets in men’s health with District Health Boards and Public Health Organisations, and ensuring there will be a men’s health conference to coincide with Men’s Health Week in June.

“Before the conference, I will be discussing a number of issues and proposals with various groups within the health sector with a view of finding ways of identifying and addressing key men’s health issues and addressing health disparities,” said Mr O’Connor.

Attendees at the meeting were:
* Barry Young from the Prostate Cancer Foundation
* Denis Bunbury from Men's Line
* Carol Andrews from Age Concern New Zealand
* Laurence Milton from Freemasons
* Donald Pettitt from Canterbury Men's Centre
* Dr Lannes Johnson from Health West Public Health Organisation
* Philip Chapman from the Nelson Marlborough DHB
* Joe Puketapu from Ngati Rarua Iwi Trust

“There’s a need for a more comprehensive and inclusive discussion around men’s health issues and how they affect wives and partners, wider family groups and society as a whole,” said Mr O’Connor.

“The advocates I met yesterday certainly highlighted the fact that there is good work already going on in this area. The meeting convinced me that we’re not talking about another strategy but about joining the existing dots.

“In the short term I look forward to better engagement and collaboration between men’s health groups and government. The focus for the medium to long term is on seeing disparities reducing.”

ENDS

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