Leading Pacific doctor appointed to new Covid-19 response advisory group

March 09, 2021

Dr Suitafa Deborah Ryan.                                                                                                      Photo/Pacific Perspectives.

A leading Pacific health expert will bring her decades of experience to a new high-powered Covid-19 response advisory group.

Pacific Perspectives Principal Dr Suitafa Deborah Ryan will sit with former Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe, epidemiologist Professor Philip Hill and public health expert Doctor Dale Bramley in the group, which will focus on improving performance and the strategic direction of the Covid-19 response.

Sir Brian Roche will chair the team.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says: "This new advisory group will...monitor the implementation of previous reviews, the group will be empowered to provide impartial advice on the performance and impact of the whole system and the strategic direction of the response.

"It will also provide assurances on the performance and settings of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, and on planning for an outbreak, and will review public communications and responses in the community."

Hipkins is confident with the make-up of "highly respected and experienced experts" saying they all have strong connections across a number of fields.​​

Ryan's extensive background in Pacific health policy and her appointment as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for services to the Pacific Community​ makes her an ideal representative.

It​ also gives hope that improvements will be made to parts of the Covid-19 response system that severely impact Pacific communities.

The group will start work next Monday.