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Fred Hollows Foundation jointly leading campaign for better healthcare in Indo-Pacific

 

The Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) are taking the lead in a campaign calling on the Australian Government to invest in healthcare in the Indo-Pacific.

Joined by a group of Australia’s most well-known health institutions, they are asking for a long-term, locally-led health policy for the Indo-Pacific instead of fly-in fly-out healthcare.

A national survey commissioned by The Fred Hollows Foundation found that 74% of Australians agree that the Australian Government should invest in strengthening the health systems in neighbouring countries including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands.

The recommendations set out in the campaign are built from well-researched evidence and include:

  • Training a new generation of frontline health workers to get vaccines and treatment to people in local communities
  • Monitoring pandemic outbreaks and responding to communicable diseases
  • Supporting governments in the region to plan, budget and manage healthcare services; and
  • Doubling Australia’s health Official Development Assistance over the next five years

    Ian Wishart.

The Fred Hollows Foundation’s CEO Mr Ian Wishart said the campaign was an evidence-based collaborative effort, drawing on the experiences of non-government organisations and their in-country programs and relationships.

“We recognise that our call for greater investment in health and development must be based on evidence,” Wishart said.

“The Health Expert Advisory Committee [of which the Fred Hollows Foundation is a member] has found that strong health systems improve health equity, making them more resilient to severe events like pandemics.

“Australia’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific is inextricably linked, and without resilient health systems in the whole region, our security and prosperity are at stake. We are, quite literally, in this together,” he said.

ACFID CEO Mr Marc Purcell said a key take-out of the campaign is the importance of supporting self-determination for Australia’s neighbours regarding their health security.

“People have the right to tailored healthcare that meets their needs, that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg or have them jumping through multiple hoops to access,” Purcell said.

“This is about building a healthier world, and we know it starts by recognising the strong cultural, economic and trade ties we have to our closest neighbours in the Indo-Pacific.”

As part of the campaign, Health Expert Advisory Committee members and other collaborating organisations have also penned an open letter to Australia’s political leaders, calling for greater investment in Indo-Pacific health.

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