Ola Manuia - new N.Z. Pacific health plan launched

New Zealand has launched its latest Pacific health plan for the next five years hoping to improve Pacific wellbeing for its nearly 380,000 strong population from across the region.

The 2020 to 2025 plan, Ola Manuia, was released by the Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa on Saturday and includes a raft of broad approaches to health, including support towards home ownership and housing quality.

“New Zealand’s Pacific peoples make up a large portion of the country’s essential workers – especially in the health and disability workforce where they literally hold many of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people in their care - yet, they themselves remain consistently over-represented across all vulnerability indicators for health and wellbeing,” Minister Salesa said in a press release.

“The current inequities we see in Pacific health and wellbeing outcomes have no place in this country’s future.”

Ola Manuia includes an NZ$17 million (T$29.5 million) plan to increase the Pacific health and disability sector capacity, with $7.5 million (T$13.03 million) specifically for 30 national Pacific health providers.

The funds were initially rallied for the Pacific population’s COVID-19 response after they were identified as having specific risks as a result of the pandemic.

The Government is aiming for a collective approach from the nation to address Pacific health. 

The environment and structural biases impact health outcomes and they need to be looked at closely, the plan document states.

Director General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield said the plan was developed alongside Pacific communities and focuses on equity.

“I recognise that we still have some way to go, but we are committed to meeting the aspirations set out in this document,” he said.

“This will require all parts of the health system, from the Ministry and district health boards through to grassroots Pacific community groups, to work together to design and deliver services that reflect Pacific values. Ola Manuia is an important step toward achieving this.”

Of the nearly 380,000 thousand Pacific people in New Zealand, a third are younger than 15, and 66 per cent of them live in Auckland.

The 2018 census revealed 40 per cent of Pacific people live in crowded, cold households, while only 18 per cent of European New Zealanders do. 

Life expectancy is five years lower for men and 4.5 years lower for women compared to the rest of New Zealand, and Pacific adults and children have the highest rates of obesity in the country.

“Most of these outcomes should be able to be changed and most can be avoided,” the Ministry of Health said.

The plan hopes to achieve independent and resilient lives for Pacific people, to increase life expectancy and the quality of that life and for Pacific people to have equitable health outcomes compared to the rest of the population.


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