25 Pacific health providers set to benefit from $26M boost

Volunteers organise food packs for families during the lockdown in Auckland. Photo: Supplied/Pasifika Medical Association

Twenty-five Pacific health providers are expected to receive funding from the Government’s $26 million support package, a senior health official has said.

The assistance, announced two weeks ago, is aimed at the Pacific Covid-19 response as a large number of the people who have been infected as well as those currently isolating are Pasifika.

Director of Pacific Health, Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone, said the funds will secure the services of provider networks in Auckland and Wellington regions where Pasifika need the most, and immediate, support.

“The second is to support mobile services and ensure that people can get tested in the home and vaccinated in the home and have other health issues dealt with,” Clifford-Lidstone said.

Volunteers organise food packs for families during the lockdown in Auckland. Photo: Supplied/Pasifika Medical Association

“And then there’s communications – to ensure that our communities have access to information around vaccines and that needs to be in ethnic specific languages.”

Clifford-Lidstone said the funds are yet to be released to providers who meet the criteria.

“We talked about $18 million for providers, $5m for the DHBs and $3m for communications,” she explained.

The eligibility criteria includes being wholly Pacific owned and operated so over 50 percent of the board must be Pasifika.

The providers must also have had a contract with either the Health Ministry or the DHB in the last 18 months.

And the third requirement is that they are a legal entity.

Clifford-Lidstone said the funding will also support mobile services and people living with disabilities and or other health issues.

Gerardine Clifford-Lidstone. Photo: Supplied

Using the right language

The boost will also help maintain momentum in the vaccine rollout and ongoing testing, she said.

“During an outbreak like this that significantly impacts on Pacific communities, the providers people call on are the ones who can speak Pacific languages, nurses who have relationships with families.

“And that the information is received well in the communities, and this includes ensuring the information is translated in the various language,” she said.

Clifford-Lidstone said the criteria helps them to ensure that those providers can continue to do their work without worrying about how they are going to fund it.

“We hope that this funding will help as many Pasifika as possible. When we look at the vaccination figures we have about 280,000 Pacific people across New Zealand who are eligible, ie over 12 years of age, to get the vaccine.

Clifford-Lidstone saud they would also be targeting young New Zealanders.

“Now is the time for us to pick up and target ethnic specific approaches – certain population groups that require information in a specific way such as the rangatahi and how we can meet their needs, and help them lead and develop the messaging for themselves,” she said.

Capital and Coast District Health Board has a bid to vaccinate more than than 5000 Pacific people and their families in the region. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Inoculation boost

Clifford-Lidstone said there’s more work needed to be done in the Tokelauan community in Wellington, the Tongan and Samoan communities in South Auckland, and the disability and the LGBTQI communities.

“Acknowledging that not all Pasifika will see a provider but in times of need like this, what we find is that providers can navigate the communities much faster and very effectively.”

From Thursday, vaccination buses will be in South Auckland neighbourhoods in a bid to boost inoculation numbers.

The vehicles would operate according to equity targets set by the District Health Boards (DHBs), targeting demographics with low rates of vaccination.

There were 14 new community cases of Covid-19 reported on Wednesday, all in Auckland.

There are 983 cases in the current outbreak.

There are 20 cases in hospital, including four in ICU or HDU.

The Health Ministry said 441 of the 966 Auckland cases had now recovered, while all but two of Wellington’s 17 cases have also recovered.

There have now been 3981 cases of the coronavirus in New Zealand since the pandemic began.

On board Jabba the bus – Goulburn Valley Health’s mobile Covid-19 vaccination unit. Photo: Facebook / Goulburn Valley Health

Resource: RNZ