July 25, 2022
Bloomfield – data challenge made health system stronger
The outgoing Director General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, says the Covid pandemic has taught the health system a huge amount about working with communities, including Māori.
He says Māori were the first to mobilise to combat Covid back in February and March 2020, bringing up memories of the impact of the influenza epidemic 100 years before.
While Dr Bloomfield came under fire from Waipareira chief executive John Tamihere for his slow release of the data Māori organisations wanted to use for their vaccination campaigns, he says there was a lot happening behind the scenes.
“One of the things that did come out of that is we were able to work with John and iwi and also with the Privacy Commissioner to work out a way to get those data to where they were the most useful so that that whānau who weren’t in touch with health services could be accessed and one of the best outcomes of that is there are over 100,000 New Zealanders who had no contact previously with health services but with the vaccination programme are now linked in so that is really good,” Dr Bloomfield says.