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Issue: March 2019


Kotahi te Tīma is the Ministry of Health’s monthly update for stakeholders covering our work programme, latest news and resources.


Reflecting on the Christchurch tragedy

‘On behalf of the entire Ministry of Health, I extend my deepest sympathies and strongest support to the families, the victims, and, of course, the Muslim community in Christchurch and around Aotearoa New Zealand,’ says Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

‘I also want to acknowledge and pay tribute to the work of people in the health sector in Christchurch: the first responders from St John, primary care and the amazing staff, both clinical and non-clinical, at Christchurch Hospital and Canterbury DHB, who have been nothing short of outstanding in dealing not just with the injured but with their families, loved ones, and friends.’

Anyone distressed by the incident in Christchurch can speak to or text a counsellor at no cost by calling or texting 1737.

‘After a traumatic event, for people directly involved, who have family and friends involved, who work in services that are part of the response to the event, and for the wider community, it is normal to feel distressed, and to experience symptoms of stress,’ Dr Bloomfield says.

‘The Ministry of Health and 1737 have created resources that give advice for those experiencing mental distress, including how to help and support children, and help with grief.’

The resources have been translated into various languages and can be downloaded from the Ministry website. A shortened URL has been developed so people can easily access the resources: health.govt.nz/coping-after-a-traumatic-event. Please share this with your networks.


Measles update

The Ministry is asking New Zealanders who've had one dose of the MMR vaccine to delay getting their second dose, to ensure there's enough supply for the Canterbury measles outbreak and because most of New Zealand remains measles-free.

‘We have asked general practices outside Canterbury to prioritise vaccination at ages 15 months and four years, and if they have stocks available, for patients under 50 years of age who have not received any previous measles-containing vaccine.

'If you’ve already had one dose, you have a 95% chance of being protected. The reason we give a second dose is to capture the 5% who need this second vaccine to get immunity. We estimate that around 90 percent of New Zealanders aged 29 to 50 are already protected from measles.

‘Anyone who is sick should stay away from work, school or public places, to help prevent putting other people at risk. This also applies if you or a family member aren’t fully immunised and may have been in contact with someone with measles,’ says Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay.

The first symptoms of measles include dry cough, runny nose and headache. This is followed by a blotchy rash. If you catch measles you're infectious five days before and until five days after the rash appears. If you or someone in your whānau has any of these symptoms, call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice as soon as possible.

Read more about measles on our website.


Ministry definition of equity signed-off

Dr Ashley Bloomfield has signed-off the Ministry's formal definition of equity:

In Aotearoa New Zealand, people have differences in health that are not only avoidable but unfair and unjust. Equity recognises different people with different levels of advantage require different approaches and resources to get equitable health outcomes.

The definition is being socialised throughout the Ministry and wider health sector. It's an important tool that can be readily applied to our work, guiding what we to do make health care more equitable.

In particular, Dr Bloomfield says the definition can provide a shared understanding of what is meant by 'equity'.

‘Having a common understanding of equity is an essential foundation for coordinated and collaborative effort to achieve equity in health and wellness.’

The definition fits the New Zealand context and aligns with Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. It also reflects international equity literature and the World Health Organization's definition of equity.


Applications for 2019 Hauora Māori Scholarships open

Applications are now being accepted for 2019 Hauora Māori Scholarships. These give financial assistance to students with whakapapa and/or cultural links to te ao Māori or Māori communities and who are studying health and disability subjects. There are 11 scholarship categories, ranging in financial value from $1,700 to $4,200.

With the aim of achieving greater Māori participation in the health workforce, these scholarships are an important equity-enhancing tool.

Applications can be made until 5 pm on Thursday 28 March. Please visit the Ministry website to find out more information and to apply:



HISO 10072.2:2019 Bowel Screening Histology Data Standard – Draft for public comment (closes 29 March 2019)

Code of Practice for Industrial Radiography: Draft for consultation (closes 29 March)

Natural health products industry questionnaire (closes 7 April)

Therapeutic Products Regulatory Scheme: Online Consultation (closes 18 April 2019)


Latest news on our website

Immunisation the best protection against measles

International measles outbreaks prompt renewed call for MMR vaccination

Ministry issues reminder to stay safe from influenza-like illness

Ministry partners with Deloitte to build new bowel screening IT system

Ministry welcomes Lakes DHB to the National Bowel Screening Programme

New ground-breaking approach to bowel cancer care

New Hepatitis C medicine could cure thousands of patients

Pharmacy regulators sign agreement to work more closely together

Phone Counselling Service Busy Following Christchurch Tragedy

Report examines National Travel Assistance Scheme

Sterilisation of Surgical Instruments


Latest publications and resources

Bowel Cancer Quality Improvement Report 2019

Bowel Cancer Quality Performance Indicator Specifications

Bowel Cancer Quality Performance Indicators: Descriptions 2019

Referral Criteria for Direct Access Outpatient Colonoscopy or Computed Tomography Colonography

The National Travel Assistance Scheme: Policy Recommendations Report

Office of the Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services Annual Report 2017

National Poliomyelitis Response Plan for New Zealand

Evaluation of the Mobility Action Programme (MAP): Cycle 1 Final Report

HISO 10008.3:2019 Notifiable Disease Messaging Implementation Guide

The Investigation and Surveillance of Poisoning and Hazardous-substance Injuries: Guidelines for public health units

Second Round of Consultation on the Proposed Donation and Surrogacy Guidelines: further changes since ACART’s 2017 consultation

Long-term Residential Care for Older People: What you need to know: 2012

Prescriber Update – Medsafe's newsletter about medicine and medical device safety


Get in touch

We want to make sure Kotahi te Tīma remains a useful update for our stakeholders.

Please email us if you have any feedback or would like more information: stakeholder_communication@moh.govt.nz


Contact us

Contact details

Ministry of Health - Manatū Hauora
133 Molesworth Street
Thorndon, Wellington, 6011
New Zealand.

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