New public health services to improve the health of all Kiwis

The rollout of the new national health system continued today with the launch of the country’s first national public health system to fight disease and promote healthy living.

The Public Health Agency will lead and coordinate population and public health policy, strategy and regulation, while the National Public Health Service will carry out the work on the ground.

“Having a coordinated national public health system instead of the old fragmented system will help everyone live better and healthier lives for generations to come,” said Health Minister Andrew Little.

“In the past, our public health system lacked coordination and collaboration, which made it difficult to focus on preventing illnesses and diseases across the country, such as hepatitis, HIV, respiratory diseases, smoking, healthy eating and substance abuse.

Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said the government was investing an additional $61 million to create the National Public Health Agency and the new National Public Health Service, bringing together the 12 existing public health units in a single organization.

“Our leading response to COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong public health evidence and national coordination of public health operations,” Dr. Verrall said.

“We have learned through the pandemic that a successful public health response requires collaboration across departments and the community to build relationships and plans.

“The creation of a new national public health agency will ensure that these capacities are retained and used to meet future public health challenges.

“This is a unique opportunity to create a system where all New Zealanders have equitable access to basic public health and disease prevention that will enable them to live healthier lives longer and have the best possible quality of life,” says Dr. Verrall.

Dr Verrall planted a flax at the Department of Health office in Wellington today to mark the start of the new public health system.

Notes for editors:

Budget 2022 invests up to $61 million in additional funding in a new public health operating model

This supports the creation of the new Public Health Agency (ASP) and a new National Public Health Service (NPHS)

Additional funding of up to $10.8 million is allocated for critical digital and data infrastructure to enable the new National Public Health Service to operate

This harakeke was donated to the Public Health Agency for the occasion by Te Tohinga Harakeke o Aotearoa – National New Zealand Flax Collection, to Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

It is a tāonga cultivar called Kōhunga, and it has not changed since it was cultivated by Ngāti Maniapoto to weave kākahu and kete.

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