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Men’s health a priority for the government

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health

3 September 2008 Media Statement
Men’s health a priority for the government: O’Connor

Improving the health of New Zealand men is a priority for this government, Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor said today.

The Minister was opening the government initiated Men’s Health Forum, which brings together a wide range of individuals from health and social agencies with an interest in men’s health.

“It is widely recognised that men feature more highly in adverse health statistics. For this reason, improving the wellbeing of our men is vital. This will not only have positive effects on their health but will also have far reaching social and economic benefits for all New Zealanders,” Mr O’Connor told the conference today.

Earlier this year the government announced it is committing $2.5 million over the next year to promoting greater awareness of men’s health, including initiatives like setting up clinics in male-dominated workplaces and funding a social marketing campaign on men’s health.

The government is also fast-tracking a 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.

Mr O’Connor told the conference today that applications are now open for the Men’s Health Innovation Fund, announced as part of the $3 million men’s health package. The $300,000 fund will be used for new and innovative approaches to improving men’s health in communities across the country. Decisions on which organisations and communities receive funding will be made in October.

“Innovative responses to different needs at national, regional and local levels are important, and this new fund will help support collaborative projects which aim to improve men’s health across New Zealand.

“There is already a great deal of good work being done in men’s health by a wide range of government entities, voluntary organisations, healthcare providers, community based groups and NGOs. The purpose of today’s conference was to start to draw these efforts together and discuss working more collaboratively in this area. I applaud and support the initiatives already underway and thank the individuals involved for their commitment.

“Men’s health is a new delegation under the health portfolio and already we are making progress in this area. This government is committed to improving access and raising awareness of men’s health,” said Mr O’Connor.


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