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Commitment to improving Pacific peoples health

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health
Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

8 October 2008 Media Statement

Joint commitment to improving Pacific peoples health

During a visit to Langimalie Health Centre today, Health Minister David Cunliffe and Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban highlighted their ministries commitment to working together to reduce health inequalities in the New Zealand health system for Pacific peoples.

"Pacific people have a poorer health status than other non-Māori New Zealanders, such as shorter life expectancy, higher rates of mortality from avoidable and treatable causes. Ensuring that our Pacific people are getting the health services they need is a priority for this government," Mr Cunliffe said.

Using the strengths of both agencies to combat the serious health issues facing Pacific people, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs have been working together on the 2008 Joint Pacific Health Action Plan.

"Focus is on the critical areas that will make the greatest difference to the health of Pacific peoples in New Zealand - improving child health outcomes; addressing chronic disease risk factors, such as smoking and obesity; and improving prevention, detection and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer," Mr Cunliffe said.

"We are working across agencies to address the causes of ill health and improve the way the health system “works” for our Pacific people.

"Organisations like Langimalie, who understand our Pacific communities and their needs, are key players. Langimalie is a Tongan concept for wellbeing and health, which is essential to Pacific peoples being able to reach their potential," said Laban.

A new biennial joint action plan will be developed by the Ministries of Health and Pacific Island Affairs for 2009 and 2010. The Ministry of Health is also developing a Strategic Framework that will bring more focus to activity occurring across the health system and help prioritise Pacific health action.


ENDS

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