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PMA welcomes Covid-19 inquiry and emphasises importance of equity
Updates / News, 7 Dec 22
Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Jacinda Ardern, has announced that New Zealand will be launching an official inquiry into the Government’s Covid-19 response as a means of better preparing for future pandemics. The Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) welcomes the inquiry but emphasises the need for equity, taking into consideration that Pasifika communities were the most affected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

PMA President, Dr Kiki Maoate ONZM FRACS, says the inquiry is an opportunity to reflect on the response and what improvements can be made.

“The inquiry will highlight what could be done differently to ensure how we can better systems and communication around our response during a pandemic. 

What we saw during the Covid-19 pandemic were drastic impacts on Pacific communities so hopefully the inquiry will capture some of that. The learnings will benefit not just Pasifika but the whole of the country as well.”

Through the Whānau Ora commissioning agency for Pacific families, Pasifika Futures (PFL), PMA supported 61% of the Pacific population during the Covid-19 pandemic by distributing 108,632 Covid packages.

In an interview for RNZ’s Morning Report, PMA and PFL CEO, Debbie Sorensen, reiterated the significant effect the Covid-19 pandemic had on Pacific communities across the country.

“We have lots of lessons to learn. We had a large number of infected families who experienced high hardship and it’s important that the commission really inquires into the specific responses with each community, not just to take a one approach fits all. 

We’re really clear that equity in the response and in the resource allocation is an important consideration.”

Mrs Sorensen hopes the Government examines the processes undertaken in responding to the needs of Pacific communities.

“I believe advice was provided to the Government; cabinet papers provided advice on specific responses for our communities and that advice was ignored. I think reviewing that practice, how the advice went up to the Government and their response to that and their inquiry into seeking more information is an important aspect of the inquiry.”

The inquiry will commence in February 2023 and is expected to be complete mid-2024.