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Smartphone App and website a first for pregnant Pacific mums

8 May 2014

New Smartphone App and website a first for pregnant Pacific mums

Statistics show over a third of pregnant Pacific mothers in Auckland were not attended to by a midwife during their pregnancy in 2010 and less than one percent of all Pacific people participate in childbirth education programmes.

‘Tapuaki’ is a new website and Smartphone app that allows Pacific mothers and other members of the family to find information leading up to, during and after pregnancy. The features provide accessible information on how to search for a midwife in Auckland, find advice about their pregnancy, and tips on caring for their baby.

The tools were developed by TAHA - Well Pacific Mother & Infant Service in conjunction with the National Institute of Health Innovation, which are both based at the University of Auckland, Zest Media and the Ministry of Health’s Pacific Innovation Fund.

TAHA Director, Dr Teuila Percival says research shows Pacific people have the highest rates of neonatal deaths, a high rate of stillbirths and the second highest rate of SUDI in New Zealand so it’s important to provide the right information about pregnancy to Pacific women.

“Our vision is for all Pacific children to have the best possible start to life. We are so proud of this new application because it’s a convenient way of learning about oneself and the development of baby as you both grow and develop together.

More and more Pacific people are accessing the internet and Smartphone technology so having the Smartphone app and website just makes it easier for women to have the right information at their fingertips, especially knowing where to access a midwife.”

Dr Percival says the ‘Tapuaki’ website is user-friendly with the main point of difference being that it specifically caters to the Pacific communities by having the website translated into four Pacific languages – Samoan, Tongan, Niuean and Cook Islands.

“I think this is a first for any Pacific website which is very exciting. Just being able to provide the information in the four main Pacific languages means we can explain things in a way that all our women can relate to.”

The website and mobile app are also aimed at Pacific dads and the important role they play in the family.

Young Pacific mum to be Natasha Gasu from West Auckland says the website and Smartphone app have already helped her with finding out more information about services available to her.

“I am quite shy and didn’t really know what to do or where to go. Someone suggested I look at the website and I loved seeing pictures of our people and being able to use my language to find out what I should do.”

I didn’t know I could find a midwife online or that we had a Pacific liaison advisor in our area. I really like the vibrancy of the pictures – I will share it with my family” says Ms Gasu.

Hilda Fa’asalele, Chief Advisor Pacific at the Ministry of Health believes that innovation is key when looking to improve health outcomes for Pacific pregnant women and infants.

“The average age group of Pacific women giving birth is 25-29 years which is younger than the mainstream average of 30-34 years, so initiatives such as these acknowledge the need to have a range of approaches to maternal care and education.”

The website and Smartphone app will be launched at 10am on Tuesday, 13 May in Henderson with the help of a Pacific mothers’ group.

The Tapuaki application is available on both Iphone and Android phones. To access the Smartphone app: Enter ‘Tapuaki’ in Google Play Store. To view details: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.nihi.Tapuaki.

To access website: www.tapuaki.org.nz

Please note – The ‘search your midwife’ function in Smartphone app is available only for Auckland suburbs (will include rest of NZ suburbs by July 2014)

ENDS

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