The current COVID-19 Delta outbreak has hit the Pacific community hard with about half of all cases being Pasifika people.
Hearing these numbers prompted The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioner’s Pasifika Chapter to spring into action to offer their support to the Pasifika families who have been transferred into a managed isolation (MIQ) facility.
Chair of the Pasifikia Chapter Dr Monica Liva put a call out to Pasifika GPs and was heartened by the number who put their hand up to help, despite their already busy workloads as fulltime GPs.
Dr Liva says, "One way we can do this is simply with a phone call. Being able to speak to these individual or family groups in their first language, such as Samoan, shows that we care by listening to their concerns and supporting them in any way to help put their minds at ease during this stressful and uncertain time."
The College has previously spoken about the vaccination of Pasifika and Māori communities being a fundamental equity issue, as we know from the data that the effects of COVID-19 will be more damaging for them than other groups.
College President Dr Samantha Murton says, "While it is promising to see the rates of Māori and Pasifika vaccination rising, now is not the time to get complacent. It is absolutely essential that our focus is to get Māori and Pacific vaccination rates as high as, or preferably higher, than other vaccination rates.
"We need to be looking to the future and ensure we have as much of the population vaccinated to prevent a possible overwhelm of the health system if New Zealand was to encounter another large outbreak.
"We’ve seen how crushing COVID-19 can be to one community; we need to work together to minimise this happening again," says Dr Murton.