23 Jul 2015

NZ health workers urged to learn about Pacific people

10:56 am on 23 July 2015

A Tongan dietician says it is essential that health workers in New Zealand have better knowledge of Pacific communities.

The Auckland University of Technology has introduced its first pacific-focused health paper, 'Fonua Ola : Pasifika Health'.

The paper aims to address health inequalities and improve the health of the Pacific population in New Zealand.

Type 2 diabetes rates are at epidemic proportions in American Samoa

The call for health workers to be able to relate to the Pacific community includes a focus on diet and how to prevent lifestyle diseases. Photo: AFP

A Tongan community leader and dietician, Soana Muimuiheata, says it's important for future health workers to be able to relate to the Pacific community.

"Pacific health is a growing population, especially in Counties Manukau. One of the key aspects that we need to talk more about is the health literacy and also how the culture affect, or the roles of culture in the health outcomes for Pacific people."

Soana Muimuiheata says it's important Pacific people learn more about themselves, and non-Pacific people are aware of what Pacific people go through in managing their health.

Meanwhile, a new university course in Auckland is aiming to address health inequalities and improve the health of the Pacific population in New Zealand.

'Fonua Ola : Pasifika Health' is the first of its kind at the Auckland University of Technology, and has been introduced this semester for students studying health promotion.

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