23 Sep 2009

Call on NZ to maintain Pacific health funding

1:17 pm on 23 September 2009

The chair of a parliamentary hearing into maternal health in the Pacific says New Zealand must continue to prioritise funding for sexual and reproductive health in the region.

The New Zealand Parliamentarians' Group on Population and Development held the hearing, attended by Pacific reproductive health workers, the United Nations and other organisations.

The group's chair, Dr Jackie Blue says she was pleased with a presentation from the New Zealand government aid agency, NZAID, which showed the country has been increasing the amount of aid it gives for sexual and reproductive health.

She says she has no concerns that funding could be affected by a shift in emphasis in New Zealand's aid policy towards sustainable economic development.

"No I don't, I think they go hand in hand. To have sustainable economic development in any country you need a healthy workforce and really that's why, we really need to invest in maternal health and offer family planning services."

Jackie Blue says the parliamentarians' recommendations are due out in February, but they will look at urgent needs such as a request for funding to boost maternal health training in Papua New Guinea shortly.