New trust to assist Pacific families

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 05:00 17/07/2014

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A trust is being rolled out next year to target the complex health and social needs of Pacific families in Marlborough.

Marlborough Pacific Trust will be launched tomorrow in front of Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Peseta Sam Lotu-liga.

The newly constituted South Island Pacific Providers Collective is contracted to deliver the service and is made up of 11 trusts in the South Island. It will be funded by the Pasifika Medical Association.

Pacific programmes previously rolled out through the Marlborough Primary Health Organisation will come under the umbrella of the trust from next year.

PHO Pacific health development manager Sana Daunauda said the trust would be a wrap-around service focusing on the health, social welfare and education of the 300 Pacific families living in Marlborough.

Nurses, social workers and "navigators" directing people to services would be part of the trust, which would work with the police, court system, child, youth and family and health services.

Marlborough is viewed as well-off but there was an underbelly of problems within the Pacific community, Daunauda said. "A healthy, safe home is paramount; when the home environment is right, everything flourishes from it.

"Most Pacific families live in rented accommodation which is pathetic. I have seen houses with holes in the walls and cases of overcrowding and cold homes."

Some homes were in such poor condition that occupants had suffered health problems, he said.

Pacific families tended to be private but giving the trust access to homes could open up benefits to families and would bolster a stronger sense of community. Also, the trust wanted an after-school care club for Pacific children, improved living conditions, the tackling of violence in the home, and for all Pacific families in Marlborough to be enrolled with a GP.

A priority was to improve the health outcomes of Pacific Islanders, who tended not to seek medical help, Daunauda said.

"To a Pacific Islander, health is at the bottom of the criteria for them. Growing up it was rare to go to a doctor. The biggest barrier of access to health services is cost. To visit a doctor it would cost $70 (if they were not a permanent resident). In the Pacific community, 98 per cent work in vineyards. It is not rocket science to know there isn't much money left at the end of their $300 pay packet."

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- The Marlborough Express

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