Events / Aotearoa, New Zealand Infectious Diseases & Pandemic Preparedness Summit 2023

Aotearoa, New Zealand Infectious Diseases & Pandemic Preparedness Summit 2023 | Haere-roa, Christchurch

14 November 2023
C38I6432
Location: Haere-roa, Christchurch
Date: Tuesday, 14 November 2023
Time: 8 AM - 6 PM

Te Niwha presents the Aotearoa, New Zealand Infectious Diseases & Pandemic Preparedness Summit

Join us for two days of insightful discussions and knowledge sharing with the experts in infectious disease research. The Summit will also feature government agencies addressing the critical issues surrounding infectious diseases and pandemic response. This in-person event will be held at Haere-roa, Christchurch.

The diverse programme features talks, panel discussions and a workshop on Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We aim to provide a comprehensive perspective on pandemic preparedness, and its intersection with indigenous rights by uniting key players in the field of infectious diseases in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Don't miss this opportunity to contribute to weaving our strong, prepared and unified network. Register now and be part of this important work. 

Summit Sessions

Perspectives on Pandemic Preparedness: Insights, Initiatives, and Equitable Allocation

Nations and health agencies globally took very different approaches to management throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This session will give a global perspective on pandemic preparedness and specific insights on the COVID-19 response in the Pacific Region, Australasia and internationally. This session will also focus on current initiatives for future pandemic preparedness. The panel will discuss new ideas in key areas of pandemic planning and response, geopolitical navigation, and how equitable distribution of therapeutic agents and vaccines can be achieved. 

Rangatahi Takeover: Voices of future leaders

Te Niwha's mission to build world-class research capability in Aotearoa New Zealand will be achieved through fostering the development of emerging researchers specializing in infectious diseases. This session will introduce some of the future leaders of Infectious Diseases Research. Early-career researchers will present their work, and we will present this year's scholarship recipients and their projects. 

Diagnostics, Therapeutics and Vaccine Development: A spotlight on new advancements

Pandemic preparedness relies on advances and innovation in biomedical research. Our speakers will share their insights into new initiatives for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine development. The panel will discuss the role of clinical trials in determining the efficacy of pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Rounding up, the panel will be asked to comment on the opportunities for Aotearoa New Zealand to be biomedically prepared for future pandemics and outbreaks, and how to maintain and build capabilities in these fields. 

Shaping our shared approach to challenges now and in the future

It is key that we hear from communities of what response looks like for them. Likewise, it is important to listen to insights from our health agencies and authorities regarding the lessons learned from Covid-19. This applies especially in the context of how these lessons will shape our approach to existing and emerging infectious disease challenges, including pandemic preparedness. As we move to the panel, there will be a discussion on how they are looking to ensure research evidence informs decision making and the shaping of responses going forward to respond effectively to new infectious diseases and public health threats of national or international concern. 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Interdisciplinary partnerships facilitating future pandemic preparedness.

We will delve into the critical issue of zoonotic agents as potential triggers for future pandemics. Our speakers will provide insights into the multifaceted aspects of surveillance and response to zoonotic pathogens, taking an interdisciplinary and interagency perspective. Our panellists will explore the state of preparedness in Aotearoa New Zealand when it comes to these scenarios, highlighting both strengths and areas for enhancement. We strive to uncover opportunities and strategies to bolster our collective preparedness for potential zoonotic threats on the horizon. 

Likely Pandemic Agents and Scenarios

This session will focus on the Te Niwha funded project Likely Future Pandemic Agents and Scenarios: An epidemiological and public health framework. Te Niwha will build and coordinate domestic research capability in infectious diseases and will respond to events of national and international significance to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand’s preparedness for future infectious diseases. The key driver for Te Niwha remains the same, building and supporting partnerships between researchers, clinicians, health agencies, Māori and Pacific Peoples for impactful research. Through the careful consideration of the current environment and continued engagement Te Niwha will have a clear view of the research landscape in infectious diseases and the issues impacting key stakeholder communities.  

Focus Points 

The major influences on Te Niwha in the upcoming year will be Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways, alignment with the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) Development Platform, and the Royal Commission of inquiry into COVID-19 lessons.
 
We are cognisant of the changes that will be occurring in the RSI system through Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways. Given it is in the initial phase of workforce development in the RSI system and as Te Niwha will also be actively developing capacity and capability for infectious disease research, we will want to ensure we are not duplicating efforts and able to grow our ideas together. Specifically, the He aka ka toro initiative provides an opportunity for Te Niwha to consider the additional pathways and learnings on how we can develop our community partners’ internal capability and capacity to engage with Te Niwha and the larger RSI system.  

The development of the Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) Development Platform will also be an important driver for Te Niwha. The two platforms have the potential to have a strong synergy both in developing capability and capacity in the workforce and also as a way to provide long term funding to research and engagement developed by Te Niwha and possibly carried forward by the RNA platform. The two platforms are already well positioned to develop this partnership given that the interim co-director of the RNA platform, Professor John Fraser, also sits on the Te Niwha Steering Group as a co-chair.  

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 lessons will play an important role for Te Niwha both in terms of being able to contribute to the inquiry, as Te Niwha will contribute to the future pandemic agents and scenarios, but also the recommendations that will arise from the inquiry might drive future strategic projects for Te Niwha that will prepare Aotearoa New Zealand for future pandemics. Te Niwha will build and coordinate domestic research capability in infectious diseases and will respond to events of national and international significance to ensure Aotearoa New Zealand’s preparedness for future infectious diseases. The key driver for Te Niwha remains the same, building and supporting partnerships between researchers, clinicians, health agencies, Māori and Pacific Peoples for impactful research. Through the careful consideration of the current environment and continued engagement Te Niwha will have a clear view of the research landscape in infectious diseases and the issues impacting key stakeholder communities.