NZ Ministry of Health Pacific Team Researches Impact of COVID-19 on South Auckland Pasifika

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health Pacific team has released results of a survey it conducted with Colmar Brunton to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Pasifika communities. This is a result of the South Auckland cluster in August 2020 which developed after 102 days of no community cases.

The Ministry sought to understand the effect COVID-19 had on South Auckland Pacific people’s incomes, access to mental health support and general healthcare services, the extent to which Pacific people practiced reduction methods for virus transmission at the time and since, the barriers to getting COVID-19 tests, and the effectiveness of the Ministry’s COVID-19 communications.

Colmar Brunton teamed up with Tupu Toa, a Māori and Pasifika organisation that identifies Māori and Pacific students with leadership potential and facilitates their placement into partner organisations. Together they conducted 500 face-to-face interviews in South Auckland between November 19 and December 9 2020.

Some of the survey results found over one third of respondents reported someone in their household had their income partly or fully affected by COVID-19, with over one in ten being made redundant or their place of work closed. One in ten Pacific people needed mental health support and didn’t get that support and one in ten did not get the healthcare they needed–mostly GP visits.

The survey suggests that Pacific people place greater importance on social distancing, wearing masks, and contact tracing than the general population, however found a gap in the perceived importance of these preventative measures and them being used.

Barriers to the getting a COVID-19 test were identified with just over half of respondents reporting some barrier or other. The survey found women and older respondents were more likely to get a COVID-19 test.

The survey appears to validate the Ministry’s information campaign in relation to COVID-19 with 94% of respondents recognising the Unite against COVID-19 message, almost a quarter reading all the information presented. Over one third only saw the advertising on TV, and only a small percentage took little notice of the information.

The complete report is presented on the Ministry of Health website.

Image: US Government COVID-19 graphic