dailytelegraph.co.nz


AUTHORITIES HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE URGENT OVERHAUL OF THE HEALTH SYSTEM, AIMED AT ENHANCING THE DETECTION AND CONTROL OF COMMUNICABLE DISEASES IS BEHIND SCHEDULE.

The improved surveillance system, initially set to be in place by next month, now awaits a final independent report due in September, according to a report in state media. The Ministry of Health revealed that implementation would hinge on the recommendations of this report. Recent reports have pointed out issues such as “tension,” overlapping responsibilities, and unclear accountability between the National Public Health Service (NPHS) and the Public Health Agency (PHA), demanding immediate action to resolve these problems.

The NPHS and PHA, central to a $60 million initiative spurred by the pandemic’s exposure of fragmentation in the health system, are working to streamline processes for managing disease outbreaks and immunizations. Despite challenges, they aim to establish a world-class surveillance system with defined accountabilities. However, progress has been slow, with documents revealed to state media showing minimal details on the advancement of the surveillance work. The strategy for integrating national surveillance across the country is expected to be released in mid-year, even as Te Aka Whai Ora, the Maori Health Authority, is set to be disestablished, raising further concerns about oversight and coordination.

The replacement of the National Contact Tracing Solution by the National Disease Management System (NDMS) by 2025 marks a significant step in enhancing data sharing and disease management capabilities. Hosted within a secure section of cloud servers in Sydney and supported by technologies from Snowflake and Salesforce, the NDMS aims to uphold privacy and security rigorously. However, the system faces risks, particularly from ‘insider curiosity’, even as external misuse of the data remains unlikely.

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