Health inequalities targeted

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:29 04/07/2014

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A new health framework encouraging Maori across the top of the south to take ownership of their health has begun.

The newly constituted Maori health provider coalition Te Piki Oranga has been contracted to deliver the service.

The focus on the whanau ora (family framework) model places greater emphasis on the needs of whanau to improve health outcomes for the next two generations.

Previously services were delivered across several Maori health providers.

Te Piki Oranga is made up of six Maori health providers including Blenheim-based Maataa Waka.

The new organisation centralises Maori personal health, Maori mental health and tamariki into one organisation.

Maataa Waka general manager Gail MacDonald said they will remain as the service delivery point in Blenheim.

Core intergenerational health problems are being targeted. High levels of diabetes, cardio vascular disease, asthma and cancer is the focus, MacDonald said.

Reducing health inequalities and increasing access to health services were goals.

MacDonald said services have been restructured and it remained uncertain if Maataa Waka's exercise groups and antenatal and mums' group would be delivered under the new organisation.

Around $2.5 million has been allocated to personal health, $1.2m to mental health and around $240,000 to tamariki ora (children's health)

Te Piki Oranga will also provide child and adolescent mental health services and alcohol and other drug counselling.

Community health workers are being replaced by navigators who are a personal contact for each patient and set out pathways for each person.

They navigate patients to clinicians in primary or secondary health. Navigators are also responsible to direct people to social workers who set out pathways to housing, employment or justice.

The coalition is the taking the lead with results-based outcomes which are being used for the first time in health in New Zealand.

Te Piki Oranga Tumuaki General Manager Anne Hobby said the Whanua Ora framework would help Maori take ownership of their health.

"The change will see resources being directed to supporting whanau achieving overall health outcomes and social independence," Hobby said.

"Te Piki Oranga will be measured on health outcomes to a targeted part of the Maori population who live in communities with a high unmet need.

"Our focus is towards prevention and intervention in Maori communities and to improve health disparities."

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board has contracted Te Piki Oranga for three years and will work closely with the organisation.

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In November 2013 the board and Iwi Health Board agreed to a business case submitted by six of the seven Maori health providers.

Te Hauora O Ngati Rarua, Marlborough's biggest Maori health provider and the first one in the South Island, made a decision not to be involved in the new coalition and go it alone.

- The Marlborough Express

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