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O’Connor to travel to Geneva for health meetings

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health

16 May 2008 Media Statement

O’Connor to travel to Geneva for health meetings

Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor leaves for Geneva, Switzerland today to attend a number of health meetings.

On Sunday 18 May Mr O’Connor will attend the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting. The purpose is for health ministers from countries within the Commonwealth to meet in advance of the World Health Assembly.

As well as providing a forum for Ministers to discuss Commonwealth health issues, the theme of the meeting is “e-health” and discussions will include e-health policies, practices and related challenges.

On Monday 19 May to Wednesday 21 May Mr O’Connor will attend the World Health Assembly. The Assembly has a wide ranging agenda but the primary focus of the New Zealand delegation will be on preparedness for pandemic influenza, prevention and control of non-communicable diseases including smoking related cancers, obesity and diabetes. Strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol will also be discussed, as will climate change and its potential effects on health.

Mr O’Connor said his attendance at such prominent international meetings further indicates New Zealand’s support for the work of the World Health Organisation.

“Issues I will be discussing with my international counterparts are of great significance to health improvement in New Zealand and they represent considerable challenges for the Pacific Region.

“I am looking forward to meeting with ministers and government officials worldwide to share and gather information on health issues,” said Mr O’Connor.

The Minister will also meet with the Korean Minister of Health and host a reception for Pacific Ministers of Health to allow discussion of issues specific to the Pacific region.


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