The Hon. Minister Tinte Itinteang, Kiribati’s member of parliament for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, signed the memorandum of understanding at Wellington Regional Hospital in Wellington on Tuesday 7 February. Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika), Associate Professor Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, was at the signing, along with Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Research, Professor Neil Dodgson, and Dean of the Faculty of Health, Professor Markus Melloh.
“As a leading university in Aotearoa New Zealand and of the Pacific , it is essential that we work with our Pacific partners in a respectful and meaningful way, and where both countries will share knowledge, learn from each other and strengthen our relationships as kin and close neighbours in our Pacific region. This agreement will aid Kiribati in training health researchers and practitioners, and will see the enrichment of our student population with I-Kiribati students,” says Luamanuvao Dame Winnie.
The Republic of Kiribati comprises 33 atolls and islands across 3.5 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. There are substantial health and medical services challenges for the nation of 120,000 people, including the provision of health services and specific health challenges caused by the natural environment.
Victoria University of Wellington already has good relationships with Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tonga, Cook Islands, Solomons, French Polynesia, and Papua New Guinea, says Professor Neil Dodgson. “Our new agreement with Kiribati builds on our experience with these relationships, providing a collaborative arrangement that will benefit both partners.”