Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Dr Api Talemaitoga announced as member of the COVID-19 testing oversight group

Dr Apisalome “Api” Talemaitoga. PC: New Zealand Doctor

GP and Pacific Health Leader Dr Api Talemaitoga is one of the new members of the COVID-19 Surveillance and Testing Strategy Group announced today by Minister of Health Chris Hipkins.

The group, co-chaired by Sir Brian Roche and Heather Simpson, is set up to provide additional advice to the Government and oversee its surveillance and testing plans.

”The group will report to me on the implementation of the updated COVID-19 testing plan and the surveillance plan and will work with government agencies and stakeholders, including private sector employers and unions, to gather useful information,” Chris Hipkins said.

It will focus on:

  • ensuring cases are rapidly identified,
  • identifying and minimising any undetected community spread,
  • monitoring people at higher risk of exposure, and
  • ensuring Māori and Pasifika people gain effective and equitable access to testing.

Appointed for four weeks, the group will focus on current testing activity and identity any barriers and improvements that are needed.

“All aspects of the surveillance and testing plans will be in scope, including in the community, at the border, and at managed isolation and quarantine facilities,” Chris Hipkins said.

Speaking on Radio 531 this afternoon, Dr Api Talemaitoga said he was honoured to be appointed to the group.

“I’m very proud to be able to represent Pacific, and I want to make sure that our Pacific community voices are heard,” he told Gerardine Cliffford-Lidstone, Director Pacific Health at the Ministry of Health.

“I’m lucky to be part of a network of General Practitioners and people that work in the community who give us real-time feedback about what is happening in the communities, what people are seeing in families.”

“I want to ensure that that feedback is fed into the decision-making process just so that we make sure we continue to provide clinically and culturally appropriate interventions for our communities.”

Other members of the group, announced today, are Dr Rawiri Jansen, GP and Clinical Director of the National Hauora Coalition, and Professor Philip Hill, McAuley Professor of International Health and Director of the Centre for International Health at the University of Otago.

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