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NZ committed to a healthy Pacific

Helen Clark

21 August, 2008
NZ committed to a healthy Pacific

New Zealand will work to help Pacific governments build health systems that deliver quality care to all, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.

"Over the next seven years New Zealand, through NZAID, will spend over $2 billion in development assistance to the Pacific region. The New Zealand Pacific Development Strategy sets the direction for our assistance and prioritises health-related activities and includes greater coordination with other donors," Helen Clark said.

"While life expectancy has increased across the region, infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis remain. As well, many babies and children are dying of illnesses which are successfully treated and managed in developed countries.

"Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease and diabetes cause up to 75 per cent of all deaths in the Pacific. The health care costs related to these diseases is formidable, with as much as fifty per cent of the health care budgets in some countries going towards expensive overseas care.

"New Zealand will make a $6 million contribution to regional efforts to prevent and control NCDs. Led by the World Health Organisation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, this work is focussed on reducing the main risk factors of unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and alcohol and tobacco use.

"Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific is a focus for New Zealand’s aid efforts. While HIV prevalence is still low outside PNG, unfortunately there is an upwards trend.

"New Zealand will provide $7.5 million to support the region’s own response to this threat, the Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV, which was endorsed at last year’s forum.

"NZAID has also recently committed up to $2.5 million to an International Planned Parenthood Federation programme to build the capacity of Family Health Associations in the Pacific to address sexual and reproductive health issues more effectively, including for young people," Helen Clark said.


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