Pacific Health literacy

Based in Tonga and the Cook Islands, this project is developing a school science-community partnership model to support young people in gaining science and health literacy capabilities. The project recognises the potential offered by young people as change agents to support well-being in their communities. Lead teachers and health professionals in each country work with the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute to build culturally adapted school-based programmes enabling young people to explore societal challenges such as obesity, food security, and non-communicable diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Three interwoven threads of development support the project:

Together these threads increase the capability of teachers and adolescents to act as health promoters at school and home, and increase their access to and use of evidence to inform their decision making.

Urgent action is needed to address the burden and greater cooperation and coordination is required between Pacific Ministries of Health, global partners and donors, researchers and health practitioners. Priority actions include:

  • collecting reliable epidemiological data
  • establishing screening programmes
  • developing medical and rehabilitation services
  • establishing training institutions and workforce development programmes
  • developing prevention strategies for noise induced hearing loss and otitis media.

In partnership with communities and health delivery partners the Section of Audiology is committed to improving hearing health outcomes for Pacific populations.

Ko Au e Toku Aorangi: Kai no te Oraanga Meitaki [Me, Myself,My Environment: Nutrition] is one such learning and teaching resource that has been designed and evaluated by the Pacific Science for Health Literacy Cook Islands-New Zealand team. The resource is intended to facilitate students’ engagement in a journey of exploration of the issues associated with nutrition and health in the Cook Islands. As well as facilitating exploration of the issue, the learning journey is intended to support the development of capabilities (knowledge, attitudes, understanding, skills and values) that support students to make evidence-based decisions about nutrition for themselves and their families. Similar resources have also been developed for students in Tonga.