Charitable organisations with the ability to raise funds to promote better adult heath services are vital to improving healthcare, said Sameer Handa, a Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Auckland Health Foundation. He was discussing the need for government funding to be augmented by public contributions raised through charities, donations and other sources; and he was speaking with specific reference to Auckland, although it is applicable countrywide.
Mr. Handa believes that Auckland City Hospital is the best hospital in New Zealand, and said that the more we can support it with new technologies, the better. “Medical advancements occur throughout the world, with the potential to improve patient outcomes and save lives. To be a truly world-class healthcare provider, Auckland District Health Board (DHB) should not only keep up with these advancements, but also lead the way for others to follow,” he said.
Mr Handa believes that the only way this can happen is through external investment and generosity from all the communities served by the DHB, including our Asian communities. Auckland DHB is unique, and as New Zealand’s largest medical training facility and largest clinical research facility, it is the only provider of certain treatments. “Therefore, it genuinely serves the whole country. Heart and Lung transplants, for example, are only performed at Auckland City Hospital. The Auckland Health Foundation is needed to help ensure that all of us benefit from the best healthcare,” he said. Having lived in countries with varying medical care and services and facilities, Mr Handa found hospital charities to be common internationally.
In New Zealand, we have the Starship Foundation which has supported Auckland DHB’s child health services for 27 years and it is time for adult health services to have their own fundraising charity, he said. “These charities make a huge difference, especially when government funding is limited and can only cover basic needs. They provide funding for cutting-edge technologies, new equipment, staff training and research that wouldn’t be possible without donations.”
Mr Handa said that while the services offered by Auckland DHB are free of charge, many people, after overcoming a life-threatening illness or receiving amazing care, may want to give something back to the hospital. “They can donate whatever amount they wish through the Auckland Health Foundation, helping to ensure themselves, their families and their community get even better care in the future. Importantly, people can also donate to any DHB department, service or team they choose, which means donors control where their money goes,” he said.
Although less than a year old, the Foundation has already had great success, and its donors have made a big impact, to the tune of $1.2 million. That money has all gone directly towards up-skilling staff and improving patient care, for example, through the purchase of 86 new pieces of equipment.Mr Handa said that the Foundation has fundraising objectives and has identified specific projects for use of funds raised. “It will therefore be easy to monitor the success of the Foundation, but it is also very important to us to meet our donors’ needs and objectives,” he said.
Mr Handa said that the Foundation goes beyond what is currently funded in the healthcare system to support innovation, research and facilities, which have the capacity to transform healthcare and benefit the many patients and communities cared for by Auckland DHB’s adult health services.
“Everyone needs to know about the Auckland Health Foundation and understand the huge difference it can make in our lives. The benefits it can bring to our families and communities are endless, so I think that once people are aware of the Foundation and its positive impact, they will hopefully join me in supporting it however they can. After building its awareness, the Foundation needs to raise substantial funds, to achieve its planned activities to advance healthcare and save lives. It won’t be able to do that without the support of every community, including our Asian communities,” Mr Handa said.
About Sameer Handa
A Mechanical Engineer by qualification, Mr Handa has held management and leadership roles in various industries. He has worked in the Middle East, Fiji, India, Australia and New Zealand.
His professional affiliations include the New Zealand Institute of Directors (Chartered Member), Bank of India New Zealand Limited (Board Director), Refrigerant Recovery New Zealand (Member), India New Zealand Business Council (Chairman) and New Zealand Asian Leaders (Deputy Chairman).
This year, Mr Handa became a Trustee on the Board of Trustees of the Auckland Health Foundation.
He said that he was immediately drawn to the Auckland Health Foundation when he learned about its purpose and role in healthcare. “I saw an opportunity to use my contacts and networks in Asian communities to reach out to a broader audience, building awareness for the Foundation’s work and ultimately supporting its fundraising efforts,” he said.
He said that he would introduce the Foundation and its objectives to Asian communities in New Zealand, especially Indians, Sri Lankans and Fijian Indians through his personal networks and contacts.
“Indian Newslink readers also currently have a special opportunity to come together to fund a whānau room which is something I wholeheartedly endorse, and which will have such a positive impact for countless families. Many of us, at some stage, will rely on these important family rooms to cope in challenging times, Mr Handa said.
“There are various other ways to get involved with the Auckland Health Foundation, from corporate partnerships to tribute gifts, and I encourage everyone to visit www.aucklandhealthFoundation.org.nz and think about the difference they can make,” he said.
Jennifer Porter is Senior Communications & Media Advisor at Auckland Health Foundation. Indian Newslink is honoured to be associated with the Auckland Health Foundation. Your contribution will be helpful.