23 May 2014

More Pasifika children to see doctor for free

10:25 pm on 23 May 2014

The Minister of Pacific Island Affairs says double the number of Pasifika children will be able to see the doctor for free as a result of the Budget.

The Government announced the free visits will be extended to under-13s from July next year.

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says about $40,000 Pasifika children under six are now eligible for free doctor's visits.

Mr Lotu-Iiga says Pasifika communities are benefiting from the growing economy, including 7900 created last year.

He said the average Pasifika wage has risen by 13.9 percent in the past five years, on a par with the increase in the average New Zealand wage.

Medical student numbers up

The number of Maori and Pasifika students studying medicine is increasing, and that looks set to continue.

Figures show a 40 percent jump in the number of Maori and Pasifika medical students at Auckland University in the past five years.

New recruitment strategies and admission schemes have helped push up the numbers.

Senior lecturer Elana Curtis says a change to the health certificate curriculum in 2006 has also contributed to a higher pass rate - from about 40 percent to more than 85 percent.