It was a day of song and celebration when the Pasifika Medical Association Group (PMAG) with their associated entities and the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB) formalised their relationship this week by signing a Memorandum of Agreement to support each other in the provision of health and wellbeing services for Pacific families in the region.
The PMAG entities include Pasifika Futures –the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for the Pacific community, supporting more than 19,000 Pacific families across their network of fifty-two partners around New Zealand, as well as the PMA Membership which works to enable Pacific Health Professionals of Excellence.
ADHB is the fourth largest DHB in the country providing health services to the 494,000 residents living in the Auckland district.
PMAG and ADHB have worked together in the past, most recently during the Covid-19 crisis in the area of contact tracing.
But yesterday marked a key milestone in their relationship as they work together to share models, data and information that will better support Pacific families.
PMAG chairman, Dr Kiki Maoate, ONZM, FRACS, says that working in an official capacity means that the two organisations can combine their expertise and resources.
“There is an understanding from both organisations of what is required to make our Pacific population healthy and prosperous. We have similar values and strategies. We think alike and that can only be good for our Pacific people.
"The relationship is about saying to the ADHB that we are an entity in our own space. We come with our own strengths and our own resources and we are here to work together.
"It will give our families more confidence knowing that we have a strong relationship with the ADHB. They can come into a health system and know that they won’t be at the bottom of the list. It’s equity for our people.”
Dr Maoate says the agreement will also benefit the front-line staff who work at the ADHB.
“We also want to support the Pacific people who are employed by the ADHB. We can support them by providing enhancement programmes and career pathways.”
Before the signing by board chairs Dr Maoate and ADHB’s Pat Snedden, the members from both boards had a talanoa.
PMAG CEO, Debbie Sorensen delivered an impressive presentation about her organisation’s work and its success in community engagement and service delivery.
She was supported by Dr Maoate and fellow board director’s Dr Francis Agnew MNZM, Dr Siniva Sinclair MPH, FHFPHM and Mrs Soana Pamaka. The occasion was celebrated by a song from a choir made up of Pacific Island
ADHB staff members.
Snedden says the ADHB are looking forward to working with PMAG and their entities such as Pasifika Futures.
“One of the things we are doing is looking for alliances with seriously capable groups and in the areas of equity that we are trying to improve. Pasifika Futures is one of those organisations.
"It’s a group that’s doing great stuff. We looked at them and said that this is an alliance completely aligned with the kaupapa that we have got for ourselves.
"Today is confirmation that the ADHB and PMAG want to work together, recognising Pacific expertise and enabling us to be better at what we do at the ADHB.”