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App looks to connect with pacific mums

SAMANTHA SMITH
Last updated 05:00 19/08/2014
Pacific family

FAMILY FIRST: The Passi family use the Tapuaki application for parenting, from left, Dominic, Rebecca, baby Kobe and Kaelyn.

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Smartphones are helping increase awareness about antenatal care for expectant Pacific mothers in Counties Manukau.

The Well Pacific Mother and Infant Service TAHA launched a new smartphone application and website called Tapuaki back in May. It allows mothers to find a range of information around pregnancy.

Now the aim is to get Tapuaki more localised, TAHA manager Jacinta Fa'alili-Fidow says.

"We have around 3000 Pacific births out of the 8000 born in Counties Manukau each year. But statistics show a third of pregnant Pacific mothers in South Auckland are not attended to by a midwife during their pregnancy.

"There are many reasons why but traditionally Pacific women seek advice from family members who have had children before them but what they don't realise is they have a higher proportion of risk factors than non-Pacific women.

"We have high rates of still births and mortality, both maternal and infant, rates are relatively high for Pacifica. We also have problems around gestational diabetes and hypertension which all have long-lasting effects."

TAHA wants to ensure that all Pacific women are receiving high-quality antenatal care and good education about self-care and care of the infant.

"It's not at all diminishing the advice they receive from members of their family - it's more to complement them and add to the advice.

"It's a bit like saying it's culture and science merged together," Fa'alili-Fidow says.

"Seeing a midwife is what we are trying to promote. There is a recommendation that all women have seen a GP or had their first primary health care visit by 10 weeks - the earlier the better."

Tapuaki has features such as information about mother and baby weekly milestones, midwife locations and word lists to help understand the terminology around pregnancy. It also includes translations in eight different Pacific languages on the app and five on the website.

Go to Apple iTunes or Google play and search Tapuaki or visit tapuaki.org.nz/ for more information.

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- Manukau Courier

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