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Adapted from Lalaga – Pacific providers making a difference

“Pacific providers are now at the very heart of their communities and making a tangible difference to Pacific health. They are improving access to primary healthcare and specialists; they are increasing immunisation and screening rates; they are educating communities in important preventative health messages; and they are helping to address the underlying causes of ill health such as poor housing, education, nutrition and exercise.” —Api Talemaitoga, Clinical Director, Pacific Programme Implementation, Ministry of Health

Pacific Health providers in New Zealand first began to emerge in the 1980s. There are now 39 Pacific led health providers throughout New Zealand, employing hundreds of Pacific health professionals, and running sophisticated, sustainable business models, with ambitious plans for future growth and expansion. Four Pacific health service providers have been included in the recent announcement of providers to deliver health and social services under the Whanau Ora scheme.

“Our healthcare acknowledges that our patients are part of a special community. We combine the best of Pacific with the best of mainstream.” —Siobhan Matich, General Manager, Ta Pasefika Health Trust

Pacific Health Providers focus on getting Pacific communities to take greater responsibility for their own health. They successfully work with Pacific communities to improve health literacy and encourage action to be taken to improve Pacific peoples' health. Frontline health interventions are provided in Pacific settings, with Pacific leadership and engagement with churches, schools, community groups and sports clubs.

“In the Pacific World, relationships are everything. Our staff attend important community events - weddings, funerals and church services. It's all about maintaining and valuing the relationship” —Naita Puniani, Chief Executive, South Seas Healthcare.

Pacific health provider services integrate primary care, health promotion, secondary care and social services. General practice services include community workers who are involved in home visits and health promotion. Some Pacific health providers have co-located specialist clinics with visiting secondary care specialists providing outpatient clinic services.

Other Pacific health provider services include:

  • Well child
  • Sexual health
  • Cervical screening
  • Primary mental health
  • Diabetes clinics
  • Child asthma
  • Disability
  • Nutrition and physical activities
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Family violence prevention

“Our Pacific population dictates the way we run our service. We involve whole families, not just individuals. When a diabetic person comes here, they bring the whole family.”—Elia Chan, Manager, Pacific Horizon Healthcare

Pacific models of care recognise the role that culture, language and community settings play in overcoming barriers to access and improving health outcomes. These models acknowledge the strong influence that Pacific families have on the health of individuals. Services are tailored to a patient's family environment, community setting and cultural beliefs.

Further information about Pacific health providers, including local contacts is available in “Lalaga - Pacific Providers Making a Difference”, Ministry of Health. keyword: lalaga

DHBs can also provide details of Pacific Health services in your region.