The fifteenth Pacific Health Ministers Meeting (PHMM) has commenced today in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, running from the 20th to the 22nd of September 2023. The Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) is in attendance, represented by PMA Group Chair, Dr Kiki Maoate, PMA Group Board Director, Sir Collin Tukuitonga and PMA Chief Executive Officer, Debbie Sorensen.
The PHMM was first convened in 1995 in response to the rapidly changing social and economic conditions affecting the quality of life and health in the Pacific region, bringing together health ministers and national leaders from across the Pacific region. This year, it is hosted by the Government of Tonga, with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pacific Community (SPC).
Sir Tukuitonga is looking forward to the important discussions ahead.
“I’m most interested in the sessions regarding human resources for health and how PMA, as well as our new research centre at the University of Auckland, can support the Pacific region.
“We will also look at obesity prevention, especially in children, where I hope to promote the 2023 Bridgetown Declaration Implementation on Noncommunicable Diseases [NCDs] and Mental Health.”
Mrs Sorensen relays PMA’s support and appreciation for the opportunity to be included at the high-level biennial event.
“We are honoured to be in attendance at this year’s Pacific Health Ministers Meeting. This event signifies our collective commitment to addressing the challenges in the health sector across the Pacific, and our willingness to identify solutions and opportunities together.
“This collaborative approach to driving initiatives aligns with PMA’s goals for the Pacific region, and we are grateful to be included in the discussions this year.”
Mrs Sorensen, who was invested as a Commander of the Royal Crown of Tonga in 2015, will also be representing her island nation.
“I am especially honoured to be serving on the Tonga delegation, dutifully serving our King and country.”
This will be the first in-person PHMM since Covid-19 restrictions have lifted and will focus on the following topics; rethinking human resources for health, tackling the drivers of obesity, particularly for children and young people, advancing health information and digital transformation in the health sector and strengthening health system resilience.
“It is vital that we continue to strengthen our relationships with the region and maintain our connections with Pacific Ministers of Health,” says Sir Tukuitonga.