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NZ to help nursing in Pacific

Friday 11 July 2008, 12:59AM

By Rt Hon Winston Peters

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New Zealand will contribute $4.5 million over three years to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support and strengthen nursing in the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.

“Our partnership with the WHO will focus on improving the quality of nursing services and education in the Pacific, as well as creating new opportunities for continuing education," said Mr Peters.

“There is a critical shortage of skilled healthcare workers in the region, which presents a serious threat to people’s health.

“Nurses make up more than 50 per cent of the national health workforce in most Pacific countries. They play a key role in keeping people healthy through disease prevention activities, and by caring for mothers and babies.

“Health is a cornerstone of development, and it has always been an important focus for New Zealand’s aid programme. This contribution reinforces our commitment to ensuring a healthy and prosperous future for the Pacific,” Mr Peters said.

The WHO contribution will be made through the government’s overseas development agency, NZAID, and is part of its $11.5 million Pacific Social Development programme.