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Working the frontline for Pacific communities

Pacific Primary Health Organisation (PHO) Alliance Health Plus is taking action to support the health of the Pacific community during uncertain times here in New Zealand and around the world.

The PHO has been pivotal in the establishment and operation of two of the fourteen Auckland based COVID-19 Community Testing Centres – Panmure and Otara - with staff working both at the frontline and behind the scenes.

The Northern Health Coordination Centre requested the establishment of Testing Centres in the community as part of the early health care response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Testing Centres provide swabbing capability for COVID-19, releasing some pressure on General Practice and freeing-up capacity to continue to offer healthcare services for non-COVID-19 related issues. The location of both sites are important to ensure the local communities have easy access to COVID-19 health services.

Alliance Health Plus is the Lead Agency operating the Panmure based Testing Centre in partnership with one of their member practices, the Tongan Health Society, Langimalie Clinic. The Tongan Health Society made their Panmure satellite clinic available to ensure local community would have Covid-19 support during this time.

Registered Nurse Pauline Fuimaono Sanders (AH+ Nursing Director and Chairperson of the Metro-Auckland Clinical Governance Forum), is the Operational Lead and Registered Nurse Joe Glassie-Rasmussen (AH+ Nurse Coordinator) is the Clinical Lead working with a team that consists of Registered Nurses, Administrators, Kaiawhina, Security and an onsite General Practitioner. People are triaged as they arrive, those who meet the case definition criteria are swabbed and all people are provided relevant health information. The Centres have been supported by a number of other Alliance Health Plus staff in areas including IT, Administration and other Clinical roles. The Panmure Testing Centre has been open since Saturday 28th March 2020.

Access to the correct health information is essential to ensure Pacific people understand that healthcare services are still provided during the COVID-19 lockdown. A large portion of our Pacific population fall into one of the ‘high risk’ categories. Many Pacific people, particularly the older generation do not understand English well, so to have Pacific health-workers who understand the Pacific culture and way-of-life and in many cases, can speak their Pacific language, helps to put patients at ease and ensure they understand well, the information they are given.

In order to cater for the significant needs of the community in South Auckland, an additional Testing Centre has been established in the heart of Otara. South Seas Healthcare is the Lead Agency, being a strong Pacific practice within the Alliance Health Plus network. Alliance Health Plus is delighted to have played a key support role in its establishment and operation. The Otara Testing Centre opened on Saturday 4th April.

Please contact Amanda Crichton on or 021 420 191 for enquiries.

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