Joint media release Senator The Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade The Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific
23 February 2023
Australia will invest in high-quality health programs across the Pacific and Southeast Asia as part of the Partnerships for a Healthy Region initiative, a new five-year program to improve health outcomes and promote regional prosperity and stability.
The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on health services in our region has been severe. Vaccination coverage for diseases such as measles and diphtheria has declined and the burden on health systems posed by non-communicable diseases like heart disease is increasing. More progress is needed on preventing, diagnosing and treating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
In response to this shared challenge, the Australian Government is inviting proposals that support the needs of our region – in particular, to tackle infectious disease outbreaks, address non-communicable diseases and improve mental health.
In addition, the Government will fund the research and development of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for diseases that affect the Pacific and Southeast Asia.
We will also expand regional health assistance provided by key Australian Government agencies and extend partnerships with international and regional agencies supporting health systems in our region.
Existing investments in sexual and reproductive health and rights will also be continued.
This initiative seeks to support gender equality and women’s empowerment, disability inclusion, and address the health impacts of climate change.
More information is available at Indo-Pacific Health Security.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong:
“Improving the health and wellbeing of communities across the Pacific and Southeast Asia is critical to ensuring our region’s security, prosperity and stability.
“COVID-19 has reversed health and development gains in our region, and Australia is working with partners to restore their health systems and build on investments made during the acute phase of the pandemic.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:
“This new initiative demonstrates the Australian Government is serious about investing in health in our region, the Indo-Pacific, to support more resilient communities, improve health outcomes and save lives.
“This initiative will complement Australia’s ongoing health assistance in the region, through support to partner governments, multilateral organisations, and non-government organisations.”
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