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Source: New Zealand Government

Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio will travel to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Committee meeting in Manila to represent Aotearoa New Zealand.

This is the first time Aotearoa New Zealand will be at the meeting in person since the pandemic. Minister Sio will take the valuable opportunity to reconnect with Western Pacific partners and continue to advocate for increased momentum on regional health issues, as well as contribute to global planning for future health threats.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been regularly meeting virtually with Health Ministers around the Pacific region,” Aupito William Sio said.

“I look forward to meeting in person to talanoa with my counterparts, continue our collaborative work on regional priorities, and to strengthen our long-standing connections as friends and members of the extended Pacific whānau.”

The annual Regional Committee Meeting is a crucial forum to ensure the WHO’s Western Pacific Office is prioritising the issues of greatest importance to countries. During the week-long event, Minister Sio will endorse regional health initiatives including:

  • Strengthening the prevention and control of cervical cancer.
  • Transforming the region’s approach to mental health care, with a focus on well-being and improved access.
  • Alleviating the disproportionate burden of non-communicable diseases .
  • Improving the delivery of primary care services to promote wellbeing ‘Reaching the unreached’ to address health inequities across the region.

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s engagement in this meeting reiterates our commitment to work collaboratively to address the complex health challenges the Western Pacific is facing.

“We are a diverse region in country sizes, populations, and face different challenges, but we all have valuable knowledge to share with one another. Our regional community is stronger together facing the major health challenges of our time, from COVID-19 to the impacts of climate change,” said Aupito William Sio.