Burnet Institute has welcomed the Australian government’s announcement of an investment package that aims to help build a stronger and more resilient Asia-Pacific.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy today announced a five-year, $620 million package known as 'Partnerships for a Healthy Region', which will seek to restore health gains lost through the pandemic.
Speaking in his role as the Chair of the Australian Global Health Alliance and Pacific Friends of Global Health, Burnet Institute Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb AC said the focus of the initiative was refreshing and innovative.
“This is a desperately needed and very welcome investment in the health of our neighbours who have been so impacted by the pandemic. But it is also an investment in our collective health; the pandemic laid bare just how interconnected we are,” Professor Crabb said.
“COVID-19 has set back years of progress in the fight against the big three diseases – HIV, TB and malaria – but we’re also seeing a sharp decline in childhood vaccination coverage and an increase in undiagnosed and untreated chronic disease across the region.”
Professor Crabb said the package would work to make up for lost ground and support health systems in neighbouring countries to be better prepared to prevent and respond to future threats.
“The expanded focus on non-communicable diseases and strengthening health systems in this package is very welcome,” he said.
“A community with a lighter burden of alcohol and tobacco-related disease, obesity or mental health problems is far better equipped to also ward off communicable diseases. Investments in prevention and knowledge create a virtuous circle.”
Professor Crabb described the package as a big step forward, especially in its explicit recognition that supporting gender equality, disability inclusion, First Nations engagement and addressing the health impacts of climate change will be crucial to success.
“It is also very refreshing to see the Australian government emphasise the importance of partnership and collaboration, and we look forward to working with the government to ensure that community-level engagement is at the foundation of its work, and that our network’s global health expertise can support them to achieve their aims,” he said.
“We look forward to providing input into and feedback on the more detailed strategic investment plan in due course to support the Australian Government in its quest to build a healthier region.”
CLICK HERE to read the full Australian Global Health Alliance and Pacific Friends of Global Health media release.
CLICK HERE to read the Australian Government announcement.