The speakers, panellists and facilitator of the special session on Asian Health at the 2nd Health Forum on International Collaboration with Asian Countries agreed to make a statement on the health system reform of New Zealand, for Asian and other ethnic minority groups.
We appreciate all the good work by the Asian Health Reform Advisory Group and the Asian Caucus of the Public Health Association of New Zealand, Waitematā DHB, Auckland DHB, Counties Manukau DHB, the Ministry of Health, Centre for Asian Health Research and Evaluation (CAHRE) of the University of Auckland, community health and wellbeing organisations and community leaders, and politicians. We are happy to hear that Hon Andrew Little is aware of the unmet health needs of the Asian and ethnic communities and the health model of Waitematā DHB can be expanded to other regions.
We welcome the direction of the health system reform to reinforce Te Tiriti principles and obligations and address the persistent inequalities experienced by Māori, Pacific, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations such as the rainbow communities.
As one in five people in NZ is of Asian or other ethnic minority groups, we believe the unique health needs of these people are of paramount importance to achieve “Health for All”:
- Specifically acknowledge Asian and ethnic minority groups as population groups in New Zealand[i], and develop a national level policy and regional/district implementation plans to improve the health of Asian and other minoritised ethnicity groups[ii];
- Include people of Asian and other ethnic groups (e.g. Middle Eastern, Latin American and African, and other minority groups) in the decision-making process to achieve health for all, set up governance group and advisory group for Asian and ethnic communities at national and regional levels;
- Asian and Asian-subgroup data[iii] must be collected, analysed, researched, reported and monitored following an agreed standard[iv];
- Invest in Asian and ethnic minority health research[v];
- Set up dedicated Asian/minoritised ethnic community health divisions with commissioning powers within Health New Zealand and the divisions are to be well-resourced for planning, funding, service commissioning, community engagement, and delivering services for Asian and other ethnic communities;
- Increase resourcing for community organisations, especially those involved in health and well-being service delivery[vi], and develop partnership between government and non-government/community organisations at various levels;
- Expand the Waitematā DHB model to other regions within Health NZ: Waitematā DHB’s response to Asian and ethnic communities has been a success with the three key components: health gain and health intelligence team for Asian, Migrants and Former Refugees with the functions of planning, funding and service commissioning[vii]; the Asian health services within the DHB’s provider arm[viii]; and the international collaboration initiative with Asian countries[ix]. This model should be expanded to other districts and regions, after further enhancement with more commissioning power and engagement with Asian and ethnic communities more effectively in a way that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
[i] Patel M, Jaung R, Winnard D, Papaconstantinou D, Ameratunga S (2022) Demography of Asian Communities living in the rohe of the Northern Region District Health Boards.
[ii] Asian Health Reform Advisory Group, Recommendations on the health system reform for Asian and ethnic communities in Aotearoa. Wellington: Public Health Association New Zealand, 2022.
Retrieved from: here
[iii] Peiris-John R, Kang, K, Bavin L, Dizon L, Singh N, Clark T, Fleming, T, & Ameratunga, S. East Asian, South Asian, Chinese and Indian Students in Aotearoa: A Youth19 Report Auckland: The University of Auckland; 2021.
[iv] Wong S. Asian Public Health in Aotearoa New Zealand. Auckland: The Asian Network Incorporated; 2021.
[v] Peiris-John R, Kang, K, Bavin L, Dizon L, Singh N, Clark T, Fleming, T, & Ameratunga, S. East Asian, South Asian, Chinese and Indian Students in Aotearoa: A Youth19 Report Auckland: The University of Auckland; 2021.
[vi] CNSST Foundation: https://www.cnsst.org.nz/;
Asian Family Services: https://www.asianfamilyservices.nz/;
The Asian Network Inc.: https://www.asiannetwork.org.nz/
[vii] Asian, New Migrant, Former Refugee & Current Asylum Seeker Health Plan 2020-2023 - Waitematā and Auckland District Health Boards. Auckland: Waitematā District Health Board; 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.waitematadhb.govt.nz/assets/Documents/health-plans/Asian-Migrant-Refugee-Health-Plan-ADHB-WDHB-Final.pdf
[viii] Asian Health Services, Waitematā District Health Board: https://www.asianhealthservices.co.nz/
[ix] Asian International Collaboration, Waitematā District Health Board: https://www.waitematadhb.govt.nz/about-us/asian-international-collaboration/