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Trajectory for Medical Treatment Scheme continues to rise after successful first year with PMA

It has been over a year since the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) Group was formally awarded the contract to deliver the New Zealand Medical Treatment Scheme (NZMTS) program, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Since then, the program has seen significant impact in the six Pacific countries the NZMTS supports, including Fiji, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tonga.

The NZMTS seeks to enable Pacific people to live healthy and productive lives through the provision of overseas medical treatment and strengthening in-country health care services.

Debbie Sorensen, PMA Chief Executive, speaks to the significance of the program for the region.

“The work is life-changing for all who are involved in the program. Last year our focus was to understand each country’s needs, as well as streamlining our support services to be ‘fit for purpose’ for each country, their respective medical teams and the patients we look after.

“We are humbled to serve our communities in the Pacific through the NZMTS and appreciate the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We look forward to continuing the work this year.”

The NZMTS has three key priorities, namely the overseas referral scheme, visiting medical teams and the strengthening of country capacity.

In 2023, the NZMTS supported 136 Pacific citizens through overseas referrals, to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji for treatment not available in their home countries. 30 visiting teams were deployed throughout the year, including 976 consultations and 271 operations being carried out. 39 activities were conducted under the strengthening of country capacity component, with a total of 380 health professionals attending in-country training facilitated by course coordinators from outside countries, and 26 attending overseas training.

“The program’s overall goal is for people in Pacific countries to enjoy a high standard of health”, Sorensen shares.


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