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Wednesday 20 July 2022 12:46pm

pacificfirstaid1Va'a o Tautai Director (Professor Sopoaga) and manager (Fran Cockerell) with members of the Pacific Advisory Group at the handover ceremony.

Meaningful long-term relationships with local Pacific communities are important for the University and first aid was the recent focus of a health initiative.

The Va'a o Tautai (VoT) – Centre for Pacific Health met with the Pacific Advisory Group earlier this month to hand over comprehensive first aid bags with items that can be used by them for camping, sports or other events.

The first aid kits were put together with the assistance of Dr. Letava Tafuna, who is a GP and Associate Dean Pacific, Dunedin School of Medicine.

Leader of the Dunedin Kiribati community, Maria Lucas, says the kits will be well used.

“We had a camp last week to celebrate Kiribati independence and language week. A student cut her finger at the campsite, and we could not find a band-aid. So this will be very handy.”

pacificfirstaid2Va'a o Tautai Manager, Fran Cockerell handing over the First Aid bag to Maria Lucas, leader of the Kiribati community.

The Pacific Advisory Group was established a decade ago to assist the Division of Health Sciences' engagement with Pacific communities. It consists of Pacific leaders from seven different ethnic groups: Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Fiji, and meets on a monthly basis.

It has assisted in the development of teaching programmes that has enabled the incorporation of Pacific Health into Health Sciences teaching programmes. As part of this relationship, VoT has extended its working relationships to Pacific countries in the region.

VoT Director, Faumuina Professor Fa'afetai Sopoaga, says it is really important for the University to develop and nurture community relationships.

“We need to be there for the long haul, and not just when we need them to provide endorsement for our HRC research applications.”

Efforts such as provide the first aid bags will ensure the University and communities support each other. “It also assists our effectiveness in addressing equity issues to improve outcomes through our teaching, research and service work.”

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