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Improved access to essential medicines for Polynesia

Improved access to essential medicines in Polynesia following support from New Zealand will help Pacific people live healthier lives, MFAT Deputy Secretary Jonathan Kings announced today.

The second Polynesian Health Corridors Dialogue is taking place in Auckland from October 3-4, where heads of health from Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Niue, Tokelau, Cook Islands have gathered to meet with representatives from the New Zealand health system.

The dialogue is a key part of the Health Corridors initiative which aims to strengthen links between health sectors in New Zealand and Polynesian countries, and provides an opportunity to discuss issues that are important to all involved.

“Essential medicines are a key building block of primary health care, and Polynesian countries currently lack access to the full range necessary for good health outcomes,” Mr Kings said.

Sessions at the dialogue will include cancer prevention, treatment and care; mental health linkages and support; and leadership and governance support.

“Collaboration is critical if we are to address pressing health issues for Polynesian people both in New Zealand and in the Pacific region,” Mr Kings said.

Because of the recent measles outbreak in Auckland, an information session will also be held on preventing and responding to an outbreak.

New Zealand will provide $8.1 million in funding over five years to improve access to medicines that meet the priority health needs of the people of Polynesia.

The funding will improve pharmaceutical management capability, implement data management software, and improve essential medicines lists and alignment of medical procurement systems across the six Polynesian countries.

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