Launched of new public health research programme led by Professor Michael Baker

Professor Michael Baker University of Ot
Dr Amanda Kvalsvig University of Otago.j

News Desk, News Nation 360: Kōkiri Marae hosted an all-day hui to launch the SYMBIOTIC Programme, a five-year research programme that focuses on finding ways of reducing the burden of infectious diseases, long-term conditions, and poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand. Professor Michael Baker is the Director of this new Health Research Council-funded programme which is based at the University of Otago, Wellington. the programme aims to make the 2020s the - DECADE OF ELIMINATION. Professor Baker explains that the successful elimination of COVID-19 transmission in Aotearoa New Zealand has shown us the value of aiming high. With good science and

good leadership, tough challenges that previously were thought to be impossible are now within our reach. The team aims to break these destructive cycles by taking an integrated, whānau-centred approach. A senior Māori researcher in the group, Andrew Waa, says a key strength of the programme is the potential for innovative strengths-based solutions that combine syndemic approaches with Māori models of health. Deputy Director Dr Amanda Kvalsvig stated that the programme was developed long before 2020, but COVID-19 is an outstanding example of a syndemic. Syndemics link infectious diseases, long-term conditions, and inequalities together to create a perfect storm. Trying to solve these issues one by one can never be fully effective. The values framework of the Tākiri Mai Te Ata Whānau Ora Collective - which includes both Kōkiri and Tu Kotahi – will provide a foundation for this work. 

Pic : Courtesy

Report : Anustup Kundu