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Monday 23 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Health, National


Health ministry focuses on NCDs and mental health
Kōrero o te `Ōrau’s Ātui'anga ki te Tango programme members getting their RAT test at Tupapa Primary Care before heading to Mangaia earlier this month. Te Marae Ora wants to reorient its services with greater focus on prevention rather than curative care. Kōrero o te `Ōrau/23012214

Te Marae Ora (TMO) Ministry of Health is holding internal discussions into reorienting the services at the Tupapa Primary Care, Public Health and Oral Health with greater focus on prevention rather than curative care.

Health secretary, Bob Williams said since normalising Covid-19 in July 2022, TMO has redirected its focus on NCDs (non communicable diseases) treatment and management with increased focus towards mental health.

Williams said the mental health unit is now being relocated to a more spacious office in Tupapa.

TMO is also looking forward to the opening of the Mental Health facility at the Rarotonga Hospital in the coming months.

Williams said a submission will be made to the Minister and to Cabinet once TMO completes its internal discussions for the way forward on how the services at primary care, public health and oral health can be reoriented to improve the delivery of quality healthcare at the community level.

“Part of the reorientation includes strengthening partnership with private practitioners in the country.”

Williams said TMO have already set in place dedicated weekly NCDs clinics at Tupapa and also in the community clinics.

“We have also added an extra doctor to the Mental Health Unit.

“Recent discussions with the team confirmed that the Men’s Health Programme can also be undertaken by the unit.”

Te Marae Ora, Ministry for Health secretary Bob Willis at the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) meeting in Barbados. 23012035 / TMO

Williams, who attended a Small Island Developing States (SIDS) meeting in Barbados earlier this month focusing on NCDs and mental health, said the event was timely as TMO is also holding similar discussions on the same issues.

“We also look forward to the final recommendations once endorsed by the SIDS Ministers in June 2023,” he said.

He said discussions in Barbados were based on pathways to accelerate national NCDs and mental health response in Small Island Developing States.

Other discussions included: reorienting health systems with primary care as resilient foundation for universal health coverage, addressing NCDs and mental health in the face of climate change and health emergencies.

Williams said breakout sessions included sustainable and innovative financing for NCDs and mental health in SIDS, the impact of climate change on NCDs and mental health and commercial determinants of health and addressing conflicts of interest.