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Study into the impacts of Covid-19

The study will have a particular focus on key populations including Māori, Pacific people, people with disabilities and those people who contracted Covid-19 through their employment. Photo: MOH.

Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington have been awarded a contract for one of its health research centres to carry out a study into the impacts of Covid-19 on people in New Zealand.

The study will have a particular focus on key populations including Māori, Pacific people, people with disabilities and those people who contracted Covid-19 through their employment.

The evidence will be used to generate recommendations for how health services can best be oriented to be accessible, equitable, and meet the needs of people with Covid-19.

“This research project will establish a multidisciplinary longitudinal study of people in Aotearoa New Zealand who have had Covid-19,” says Dr Ian Town, Chief Science Advisor, Ministry of Health.

“It’s important that we improve our understanding of the short and longer-term physical, psychological, and economic impacts of Covid-19 on affected people in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to highlight any equity issues faced by this cohort.

“The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 is constantly evolving, as we are seeing with recent cases of the Delta variant in the community. The more we understand the different effects the disease has on people the more we can plan our health responses,” says Dr Town.

An open tender process by the Ministry of Health called for a collaborative proposal by researchers who together have the credibility, connections and capability to design, lead and execute such a project.

The Research Trust of Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington have been granted $1.2 million for the project, which will be undertaken by Te Hikuwai Rangahau Hauora - Health Services Research Centre (HSRC) over a period of approximately 12 months.

 The findings will be shared with all participants and published by the research team.

The research will include those with laboratory confirmed or probable Covid-19.

“It is so important to get the stories out there of what it has been like for everyone who has actually contracted Covid-19,” says co-lead investigator Dr Lynne Russell (Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāi Tahu), HSRC’s senior Māori health researcher at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington.

“This research will not only give voice to the more than 2500 people in Aotearoa who have had a diagnosis of Covid-19. It will also provide greater clarity for others to base their decision-making on around how best they can protect themselves and their whānau going forward.”

The research team will not have direct contact details for people who have had Covid-19 but will contact people via the Ministry of Health.

Alternatively, people who have had Covid may get in touch with the HSRC directly.

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