Maori-led PHO Pilots West Auck Health Initiative
Maori-led PHO pilots health initiative for workers in West Auckland
Low income workers in an area of Auckland that shows disturbingly poor health statistics will benefit from a pilot programme that is the first of its kind in New Zealand.
Waiora Healthcare Trust PHO’s “Make a Stand” programme was launched today at Huhtamaki Packaging plant in New Lynn by Associate Health Minister, Mita Ririnui. Former rugby league great Tawera Nikau was also at the launch to lend his support.
Waiora Healthcare Trust is a Maori-led primary health organisation based in West Auckland.
The pilot programme brings healthcare into the workplace. It’s designed to help workers who, for one reason or another, have not had access to primary healthcare on a regular basis. The workers in this area are predominantly from Maori, Pacific, or migrant groups, and are mostly male.
Waiora’s chief executive, Simon Royal says the “Make a Stand” programme is about reversing the negative health trends seen in West Auckland.
“We’re making a stand by working with the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturers’ Union (EPMU) and employers to set up nurse-led clinics in the workplace. For various reasons, some people still aren’t seeing a doctor or getting the health advice they need. Too often they end up in hospital seriously ill from avoidable illness,” he says.
Royal says the programme offers a free and confidential health assessment to workers. Employers like Huhtamaki provide space for the nurses and time off for the worker to attend the clinic. They also support follow-up health improvement programmes.
“Workers are screened for various health risks and, if there’s a problem, we help them find the healthcare they need or advise them on steps to take to improve their health,” he explains.
“’Make a Stand’ is about helping people take control of their own health and well-being and making changes for the better. The Huhtamaki guys are very excited about being the first to try the programme and we’re grateful to both the union and the company for their support,” comments Royal.
Royal says other employers have already shown interest in the pilot and he expects the programme to be made available through other PHO’s nationally within a year.