The year 2020 has been unique for everyone. Despite the unprecedented events, this year will be remembered as a year of change and collaborative success. As we near the end of the year, we reflect on the contribution of the health sector in responding to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared 2020 as the ‘International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife’ so it is fitting that we also recognise the efforts of our Pacific nurses to the Pacific health sector COVID response in New Zealand.
We did just that at the Aniva symposium on Wednesday 9th of December, where a number of Pasifika health professionals, health academics and researchers gathered at the Vodafone Events Centre in Auckland for a timely celebration to acknowledge the significant work of our Pacific nurses and midwives, majority of which are Aniva alumni.
Founded in 2012, the Aniva programme was created in response to a need to increase the number of nurses achieving postgraduate tertiary qualifications. The programme was co-designed and delivered by renown nurses Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endermenn, Dr. Margaret Southwick, and Principal of Pacific Perspectives Dr. Siutafa Debbie Ryan. The success of the Pacific specific programme is evident in the research projects Aniva graduates are leading which Dr. Debbie Ryan says
“Their projects demonstrate how our graduates are applying their learning to facilitate change in clinical practice and the way health services are delivered, to better meet the needs of Pacific individuals, families and communities.”
The symposium included various presentations by some of Aniva’s master’s students, which gave a snapshot of their respective research. These covered three areas including ‘Women’s Health’, ‘Children’s Health’, and ‘Culture, Palliative Care & Mental Health’. We were also fortunate to have Dr. Ashley Bloomfield virtually join us to personally applaud our Pasifika nurses and midwives’ contribution to the health workforce. He reinforced the importance of having a strong value-based approach when working with communities and believes this is the key to making effective change. By the end of the symposium, I was filled with so much admiration and gratitude towards these Pacific pioneers, and my cup was overflowing with knowledge.
Below are my three highlights from the symposium:
1. More research is needed in these areas, by Pacific for Pacific. Furthermore, for research to be published in the indigenous languages.
2. The values and beliefs of Pacific people significantly impact their decision making in terms of understanding health and seeking health care, therefore designing culturally appropriate care for Pacific people must be centered around Pacific values.
3. There needs to be more cultural competency training for anyone within the health workforce working with our Pacific communities.
More information about the Aniva programme can be found on the Pacific Perspectives website at https://www.pacificperspectives.co.nz/aniva