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Dr Lifeng Zhou, Chair of the PHA's Asian Caucus calls for everyone to work together, all countries/territories, ethnic groups, faiths and cultures, in the containment of the Pandemic COVID-19:
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) declared (11 March 2020) that the outbreak of COVID-19 in the world is a ‘pandemic’. A pandemic is defined as the uncontrolled worldwide spread of a new disease.
COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, officially named as SARS-Cov2, is a new illness that can affect lungs, airways and other organs. According to WHO as of 18 March 2020, there were 191,127 confirmed cases reported globally with 7807 deaths. China and the Republic of Korea had significantly declining epidemics, but the spread of SARS-Cov2 in other parts of the world is significant.
WHO calls for all countries and territories to take urgent and vigilant action to work together, to do the right things with calm, to protect all citizens of the world.
However, since the emergence of COVID-19 we have seen instances of public stigmatisation, the rise of racism and use of stereotypes against some population groups. This is harmful and unethical, as stigma can, according to WHO, 1) drive people to hide the illness to avoid discrimination, 2) prevent people from seeking health care immediately and 3) discourage them from adopting healthy behaviours.
While we’re very happy to see the Ministry of Health show its understanding of and respect for the Chinese culture when 157 people from Wuhan were held in quarantine for two weeks, we are also dismayed to hear how Chinese people have experienced stigma and discrimination associated with public fear of the novel coronavirus in New Zealand.
The recent Public Health Expert blog of “Getting Through Together: Ethical Values for a Pandemic” written by Ruth Cunningham, Charlotte Paul and Andrew Moore, provides balanced ethical considerations when responding to a pandemic like COVID-19. We all need to draw on our common humanity and be explicit about our values. As they put it: “Recognising this will help us make good decisions in difficult situations so that, for example, the need to impose restrictive measures and to protect ourselves does not conflict with fairness, respect, and neighbourliness.”
The PHA together with its Asian Caucus call each of us to be intentional and thoughtful when communicating on social media and other platforms, showing supportive behaviours as we fight against our common health threat: the novel coronavirus.
Be Safe by following public health advice;
Be Smart by being informed from accurate sources;
Be Kind and support one another to fight COVID-19
We wish you all the best in this difficult time of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will try to continue to work and function from home as normally as we can.
Our Zoom facility is on hand for all branches, caucuses and SIGs to deploy for remote face to face meetings online. Please contact Fiona (email@example.com) or Alyssa (firstname.lastname@example.org) for support to plan your zoom meetings.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) - what is it?
Coronaviruses are a large and diverse family of viruses which includes the common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
In January 2020, officials identified a new coronavirus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, formerly known as 2019-nCoV). The disease caused by this new virus has been named COVID-19 (CO for the coronavirus family, VI for virus, D for disease and 19 for the year the virus emerged).
See MoH's latest media release for a summary of the current status.
'These alert levels specify the public health and social measures to be taken. Nationwide, New Zealand is currently at Level 4 – Eliminate. This means that it is likely that the disease is not contained. See more information about Alert levels.
Find out how to look after your mental health and wellbeing when you have to stay at home.
We are seeking expressions of interest from health and care professionals who are able and willing to work for a limited amount of time as part of the national strategic approach to managing COVID-19. Find out more'
For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.
See the MoH website for detailed information on the virus. The MoH has developed a useful 'what you need to know' sheet. MoH also has a Facebook page to keep you up to date on the situation.
Strictly observe good hand and respiratory hygiene. This means:
The measures above are especially important for people who have existing health conditions, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems.
Book your flu vaccination asap
Another very important thing you can do is to get vaccinated against influenza as soon as you can.
More than 800,000 influenza vaccines have been distributed to vaccination providers.
This ensures vaccines are available to vaccinate priority groups, such as those over 65 years old, pregnant women, children with a history of respiratory illness and frontline workers.
It's worth noting that influenza immunisation doesn’t normally start until April, and the flu season doesn’t normally start until late May.
Be patient while our health system works through any backlogs. There will be more stock available in the first half of April.
Flutracking is an online survey which asks if you have had a fever or cough in the last week and which can help us track COVID-19.
Registering online will help our surveillance efforts by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms.
This is a practical thing everyone can do to help monitor flu and COVID-19 symptoms throughout NZ.
Please take care of yourselves and those around you.
We recently made a submission to the Justice Select Committee on the Inquiry into 2019 Local Elections and Liquor Licensing Trust Elections.
We recently made a submission to the Justice Committee on the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill. We will be appearing in person before the Committee to give an oral submission next week in support of our written submission.
We recently wrote a submission jointly with the NZ College of Public Health Medicine, and an endorsement of Ora Taiao's submission, on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill.
Finally the movie you've all been waiting for! PHA's scorecards for the DHB elections!
In this video our CEO Dr Prudence Stone, Wellington branch member Dr Jude Ball and the previous branch co-chairs Ramil Adhikari and Nita Brown discuss PHA's scorecard campaign. Three of our branches, Wellington, Canterbury/West Coast and Otago/Southland, were involved this year in this very successful campaign and we hope next time around more of our branches will join in.
Report by Governing Council Representative to Asia Pacific, Adrian Te Patu (PHANZ) World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA)
The Institute of Global Health, reception of the World Health Assembly (WHA)
The Swiss Permanent Mission of Geneva invited the WFPHA governing council, including the Indigenous Working Group, to join the 194 member country delegations to the WHA opening reception. This high level soirée was a perfect opportunity to promote the WFPHA, indigenous public health and the PHANZ. I was able to spend time with Pacific Forum delegates to discuss public health issues unique to our region, and for those who live in Aotearoa. It was particularly rewarding to meet the delegation from Tuvalu who was to host the Pacific Forum in August. Our host Switzerland promoted various global health-based search initiatives from academic and research partners that base themselves in Geneva. This special evening was co-hosted by the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
WFPHA International Vaccination & Capacity Workshop 2019
It was my privilege to offer an indigenous lens as a member of an international panel of the International Vaccination & Capacity Workshop hosted on May 22nd at the University of Geneva. This was enormously successful, registering over 300 public health professionals, doctors, diplomats, professors and students from across the globe. This was in addition to over 25,000 live-stream engagements. The workshop was full of robust and stimulating discussions between the audience (both in person and online) and our 20 high-level eloquent speakers from various health sectors around the world. These interactions offered a strong interdisciplinary insight into the challenges and potential solutions around vaccinations and capacity. Speakers discussed strategies and good practices to increase primary prevention through increased capacity (from human to infrastructure to sustainable investments and beyond) applied to the vaccination context. From the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to Strep A vaccination strategy research to arresting rheumatic heart disease in south & west Auckland, the full day workshop was a truly valuable global discussion.
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD s) Workshop - Indigenous Working Group (IWG) of WFPHA
I was able to co-host and speak at this workshop which began by acknowledging that NCDs contribute to 70% of deaths globally. Indigenous people, however, often carry a higher burden of disease. Australian Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care opened the workshop via video. Minister Wyatt had previously funded the IWG and expressed his continued support for the IWG and the work we are undertaking. The diverse range of speakers included Professor Laetitia Rispel from South Africa, President of the WFPHA; Mr. Patrick Mwesigye, founder of the Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum; Summer May Finlay, Co-Vice Chair of the IWG, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vice President of the Public Health Association of Australia and me. The topics included the significant burden of disease, Indigenous-led solutions, the impact of racism and the need for Indigenous data collection. The workshop called for specific Indigenous reporting under the World Health Organization’s Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Agenda includes 17 goals and states that “no one will be left behind”.
Governing Council (GC) AGM and WFPHA General Assembly
The three functional meeting requirements for GC members in attendance at Geneva this year included the AGM which focused on finance, the Rome Congress and new appointments to the GC. The General Assembly allowed each member nation and working group to offer a summary of the year. This year a Skills Building Seminar on Governance specially dedicated to navigating the international political minefield was included.
16th World Congress on Public Health Rome 2020 - International Congress Council (ICC)
In a very unusual move, three significant public health associations have combined to stage this event in Rome next year. They are the WFPHA, the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health (Sltl) and the European Public Health Association (EUPHA). I am a WFPHA member of the organising committee or ICC which is chaired by Prof Martin McKee, CBE, Professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We are expecting four to five thousand attendees.
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War - Side event
It was my privilege to join a team of health professionals to present and discuss the role of health workers in reducing the likelihood of nuclear war. I was asked by the US delegate to the WFPHA to give a NZ and Pacific lens to this discussion.
Dr Nicole Coupe joins Dr Heather Came-Friar to become PHA's acting Co-Presidents
At their first face-to-face council meeting recently PHA's new-look Executive Council developed interim leadership arrangements until the next AGM. Dr Nicole Coupe will join Dr Heather Came-Friar as acting co-Presidents. This decision reflects a commitment by the Council to engage with Te Tiriti o Waitangi at all levels of the organisation – from governance and staff to our membership. In the coming months we are planning a Tiriti audit, training opportunities and kōrero as we devise and envisage what a more Tiriti-focussed PHA might look like. More information will follow in the New Year.
Dr Nicole Coupe is from Te Tai Tokerau with whakapapa to Kāi Tahu, Te Atiawa, Ngāti Toa, Rangitāne and Raukawa iwi. Nicole has developed innovative research techniques to support Māori suicide prevention. Her research findings have been implemented across a number of DHBs to support cultural assessment of people who present to emergency departments through pōwhiri-based processes and problem solving therapy. This work has contributed to her leadership and management roles in community and in the primary and secondary mental health sector. Nicole is CEO of Kirikiriroa Family Services Trust. She has a long association with the PHA as a member and is currently Treasurer of the PHA. Nicole is also a founding member of the PHA's Special Interest Group STIR: Stop Institutional Racism.
Canterbury District Health Board is looking for A Team Leader Community & Public Health
- Full time permanent role based in our Greymouth Office.
- Ideally you will have experience in leading teams in the Community & Public Health space.
- Passion for Public Health, Excellent communication & relationship building skills.
Our Purpose: Why we do it
When you work with the Canterbury District Health Board, you’re part of something very special. We plan, fund and deliver health services to the almost 600,000 New Zealanders that live in the Canterbury region. Our primary goal is to put people at the heart of everything we do.
The Team: What we do
Our team are responsible for providing community & public health services across Canterbury and the West Coast. This role specifically is based in our Greymouth Office and working with our West Coast DHB team to enable well being and equity of outcomes for everyone on the West Coast. This role will be responsible for staff across the West Coast.
The Role: Where you fit it
Your days will be filled with:
We are looking for someone with the following traits.
Our Culture:What matters to us
Ko ngā tāngata, te mātua mahi
Putting people at the heart of all we do
Health is ultimately all about people. What’s important around here is the way we care for and respect others, the responsibility taken for delivering outcomes, and going about our work with integrity.
Belonging Here: Becoming part of our story
Being part of the Canterbury District Health Board, you will enjoy a fantastic benefits scheme, the opportunity for flexible working arrangements and ongoing focus on your career development.
The Canterbury DHB believes that diversity and inclusion is key to ensure we deliver the best care for our diverse population. The Canterbury DHB is an inclusive and equal opportunity employer that welcomes and respects everyone.
If this role has sparked your interest but does not match your skills then please visit our careers website and have a look at our roles that better suit your expertise.
Apply online, or to find out more information, please contact Simon Liddy
Closing date: 24 November 2019
Obituary for Dr Fran McGrath
Iti rearea, teitei Kahikatea ka taea
As the smallest bellbird can reach the highest kahikatea tree in the forest
age does not limit our success
We were saddened and shocked to learn yesterday of the sudden death of our new President Fran McGrath on Sunday. Fran had only just begun her term last week, and Wellington Branch were looking forward to celebrating with her at their AGM last night the success of the branch’s remit at the national AGM, to grant Fran a Lifetime Membership to the PHA.
Fran was certainly worthy of such a remit. She had a long and distinguished career in our health sector. She completed a medical degree at Otago University in Dunedin, followed by volunteer positions in rural and low income communities, which lead her to specialise in public health at the University of Otago Wellington. The wide range of experiences in Fran’s career is worth noting; she worked across many areas of the New Zealand health sector as well as in developing countries, including Central America and Thailand and spent a year working in the Cook Islands. She served on several World Health Organization expert groups and represented New Zealand at a number of meetings of the World Health Assembly. After many years working at the Ministry of Health Fran had only recently retired as Chief Advisor in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. She also served as Deputy Director of Public Health and as senior health advisor to a number of Health Ministers over the years.
In addition to these demanding paid roles, Fran never stopped contributing to the sector in a voluntary capacity. She was on the Oxfam NZ Board and also very involved in the NZ College of Public Health Medicine, where she served on the College’s Council and held the position of Chief Examiner for many years. At the time of her death, she was a current member of the College Policy Committee and was actively engaged in the College’s policy and advocacy work.
Perhaps for us, though, Fran will be remembered as a stalwart of the Public Health Association, actively involved with us for thirty years. She served two terms as a member of our Executive Council and two terms as President. She worked with Council and the Māori Caucus to create the PHA’s first Māori governance roles. She was an active branch member of both Canterbury/West Coast branch when she resided there, and then Wellington branch. At this local level she stepped into leadership as treasurer, as conference convenor or as chair, whatever and whenever the branch called on her. As chair she led Wellington branch in establishing the first Post-Budget Breakfast, which has become an annual and popular feature of the public health calendar in Wellington, and led to a valuable stakeholder partnership between the PHA and the Child Poverty Action Group. It was for all these contributions and the way she advised and supported so many members personally, that we voted for Wellington Branch’s remit this year, to grant Fran her lifetime membership.
We celebrate her commitment, loyalty and generosity of spirit to public health matters and to our organisation.
We extend our condolences to Fran’s husband Edwin and family.
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