NZ seeks regional approach to improving Pacific health - Solomon Star News

NZ seeks regional approach to improving Pacific health

15 April 2015

WELLINGTON, (XINHUA) --- New Zealand Associate Health Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga will be looking for regional solutions to improve the health of Pacific island people at a regional meeting in Fiji this week.

The three-day Pacific Health Ministers Meeting, which opens in Yanuca on Wednesday, is a biennial gathering of ministers and health officials from Pacific nations and areas.

“Many of the biggest health problems in the Pacific are also faced in New Zealand, and more specifically by our own Pacific communities, who represent 6.9 percent of our population,” Lotu- Iiga said in a statement.

“Working together across the Pacific region and supporting our neighbors is fundamental to ensuring better health outcomes for Pacific families and communities, both in New Zealand and overseas. "

New Zealand was encouraged by the progress made by Pacific countries in improving health outcomes for their people, but was conscious that there is more work still to be done, he said.

The first meeting of Pacific health ministers was held in Fiji in 1995 in response to rapidly changing social and economic conditions affecting quality of life and health in the Pacific.

This year's meeting will focus on non-communicable diseases, such as those caused by smoking, nutrition and alcohol, under the theme "Healthy islands to islands of wellness."