Iwi and Nelson Marlborough Health to strengthen relationship

Nelson Marlborough Health is wanting work closer with iwi to get positive Maori health outcomes.
BRADEN FASTIER

Nelson Marlborough Health is wanting work closer with iwi to get positive Maori health outcomes.

Nelson Marlborough Health is failing to meet all but one out of 13 targets for Maori health which has led to a resolution to work closer with iwi.

The health board is meeting a breast screening target for Maori women in Nelson Marlborough, but failing to meet the other indicators set for Maori health.

At the full meeting of the district health board held on Tuesday, Iwi Health Board chair Dawn McConnell said they wanted to strengthen and develop an effective working relationship with the DHB.

"We would like a great integration of the Maori Health Plan with the District Health Board plan to sort of make sure we are working in the same direction and are able to monitor each other."

Developing Maori providers, increasing the number of Maori working within the health sector and focusing on health prevention and education in youth were cited in a report to the district health board.

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The 2016/17 Maori Health Plan lists 13 priority indicators for Maori, with only one currently being met.

The health board achieved 73 per cent breast screening coverage of Maori women against the target of 70 per cent. 

It was also making progress towards the achieving the immunisation target of 95 per cent of eight month old Maori babies fully immunised. Between March 2015 and March 2016 coverage had increased nine per cent to 93 percent. 

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The other national priorities are focused on access to care, cancer screening, breastfeeding, mental health, oral health, rheumatic fever, smoking cessation and sudden unexplained death in infancy. 

There are also four regional priorities for Nelson Marlborough; promoting health, workforce development, health of older Maori and maternal and child health. 

The 2016/17 Maori Health Plan showed the Maori workforce made up three per cent of those employed by the district health board. 

The plan called for a five per cent increase in Maori staff.

General manager of Maori health and vulnerable populations Ditre Tamatea said the board was taking steps to ensure workforce development for Maori, which included discussions on how to increase the number of Maori in nursing as it was the largest clinical workforce.

Board member Judy Crowe raised concerns over the need for more funding to be put into early intervention, prevention and health education.

Acting chief executive Peter Bramley​ said feedback from the public meetings to discuss the primary and community strategy highlighted mental health and Maori health as two priority areas.

"We went to the Whakatu Marae and the marae really challenged us to see the fruits of our endeavours and to making sure that we were clear and accountable in the actions we were taking," he said.

"We must give greater attention to particularly preventative and education based program that is very much primary or community-care focused."

The Iwi Health Board report also asked the DHB to work with other sectors to address issues around housing, employment, welfare, education and justice as some of the wider determinants of health.

 - Stuff

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