This World Health Day, the Ministry of Health is joining the World Health Organization as it calls for action to eliminate health inequities.
For more than 50 years World Health Day (April 7) has been used to create awareness around priority areas of concern for the World Health Organization.
This year’s campaign is focused on building a fairer, healthier world for everyone. It acknowledges the world is still an unequal one and highlights the principle: “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”.
“In Aotearoa New Zealand, we also acknowledge that people have differences in health that are not only avoidable but unfair and unjust,” says Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General Mâori Health John Whaanga.
“We know there is a significant gap in health equity between Mâori and other New Zealanders: Mâori are more likely to die than non-Mâori at all ages and Mâori health status remains unequal with non-Mâori across almost all chronic and infectious diseases, as well as injuries.
“This Ministry stands behind Te Tiriti o Waitangi and is dedicated to the achievement of equitable health outcomes for all Mâori.
“This Ministry is also committed to addressing racism and discrimination in the health and disability system. This is reflected as a key outcome in the Ministry of Health’s Whakamaua: Mâori Health Action Plan, Ola Manuia: The Pacific Health and Wellbeing Plan, the New Zealand Cancer Action Plan and in our COVID-19 response.
“While some gains have been made, more work needs to be done to achieve health equity for whânau Mâori living in New Zealand,” John Whaanga says.
“Health inequities are preventable and achieving equity within the New Zealand health system is a priority.
“We can all contribute to achieving equity by being open to look at new ways of doing things, and by challenging our own preconceptions about how things should work.
“We all have a part to play in creating a future health and disability system that is equitable for all and free from all forms of racism and discrimination – mehemea ka mahi ngâtahi tâtou, ka taea ngâ mea katoa. If we work together, anything is achievable,” John Whaanga says.