28 May 2012

$6m Pacific health fund welcomed

10:16 am on 28 May 2012

The country's biggest Pacific-led primary health organisation says a new $6 million fund will help to address the social problems that underpin the poor health of Pacific communities.

The Pacific Innovation Fund announced in the last week's Budget will support proven Pacific approaches to entrenched problems like diabetes, rheumatic fever, stroke, gout and heart disease.

Alliance Health Plus chairman Dr Siro Fuatai says the ill-health of 60% of its patients can be traced to family and social problems and the fund will allow a broader approach to helping them.

That could include co-ordinating services with government agencies, churches, community nurses and social workers.

Arthritis New Zealand is also hoping to use the fund to work more closely with Pacific health providers to get earlier diagnosis and treatment of gout which affects significant numbers of Pacific men.