Funding boost to address inequalities magnified by Covid-19 for Pacific
An injection of $19.5 million has been allocated to frontline Pacific healthcare teams to help combat Covid-19 and to support the Pacific community during this current resurgence.
Although the government funding is needed for urgent medical and practical needs for Pacific families during the Covid-19 resurgence, vice president of the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Dr Teuila Percival QSO FRACP says there should also be a focus on improving homes and living conditions.
Appearing on TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning, Dr Percival said the Pacific community cannot afford to take their eye off the ball when it comes to issues like housing.
“The virus doesn’t discriminate, and it can affect everybody. But what we worry about is people’s pre-existing conditions like respiratory and chronic conditions. They are more likely to get severe diseases and more likely to die. When you look at underlying health conditions, we need to look at those big determinates, like housing. For us, this is such a big problem. We are more likely to live in overcrowded homes and with increased stress of Covid-19, it’s going to get worst,” she said.
The funding package increases the outreach and support to the Pacific communities and ensures that the various providers continue to be prepared to respond rapidly and effectively to any future instances of community outbreak.
Some of the funding will be used to ensure that there are Pacific voices at the decision making table, including leading Pacific researchers and healthcare providers, who will analyse data of the Pacific experience and use this to inform current and future policy delivery.
Dr Percival acknowledged the importance of having Pacific voices heard and respected during a time of crisis.“One of the things about a big public health response is that you have a generic response for the community and what tends to happen is that the vulnerable marginalised communities will miss out slightly. That’s what we worry about. If you enable the Pacific community to lead and develop their own solutions, reflect on what’s happening and then connect with their community, then they will become more successful.”
Cover image photo credit - NZ Herald