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$3 million funding for new men’s health programme

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health


9 June 2008 Media Statement
$3 million funding for new men’s health programme

Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor today kicked off Men’s Health Week by announcing government funding of almost $3 million over the next year to promote greater awareness of men's health.

"It’s no secret that Kiwi blokes can be reluctant patients. This new funding will go into programmes and initiatives aimed at encouraging men to be more aware of their health and access healthcare,” said Mr O’Connor.

“We are looking at a range of ways to accomplish this; from setting up clinics in male-dominated workplaces like freezing works and timber mills, to funding a social marketing campaign on men’s health.”

Initiatives and programmes in the package include:
• providing targeted men’s health checks at convenient times and locations
• supporting workplace based men’s health initiatives
• establishing a men’s health innovation fund to support community based men’s health initiatives
• developing a men’s health social marketing campaign
• improving access to good quality men’s health information by supporting existing websites, telephone health services and a range of information pamphlets

“The government also recently announced that it is fast-tracking a colorectal (bowel) cancer screening programme, in an effort to better diagnose and treat New Zealand's second-biggest cancer killer. This is important for men as they have a substantially higher mortality rate for colorectal cancer than women,” said Mr O’Connor.

"The latest New Zealand Health Survey shows that men are going to the doctor more than they used to, which is a good start. However, the Survey also shows men smoke and drink more than women, are less likely to eat healthily and are more likely to be overweight or Class One obese. We want to encourage men to be proactive in seeking healthcare.

“Men’s health is a new delegation under the health portfolio and already we are making progress in this area. This funding is a start and shows that government is committed to improving access and raising awareness of men’s health. This week as Men’s Health Week is a perfect time to restate this commitment,” said Mr O’Connor.


ENDS

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