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Nurses and communities work to improve Pacific health

30 May 2014

Nurses to work together with churches and communities to improve Pacific health

Three full time nurses will soon be working with west Auckland and North Shore churches and community trusts to improve the health and wellbeing of our Pacific communities.

The new initiative will see the nurses work with 20 churches in west Auckland and ten on the North Shore, assisting them to develop a tailored health programme that will be integrated into the church’s activities.

Waitemata DHB chief executive, Dr Dale Bramley, says the programme is about developing a long term health conversation with each church community and individuals within that community that require ongoing support.

“Introducing parish nurses is just one example of how we’re working with Pacific communities to support them to live longer and healthier lives,” says Dr Bramley.

The nurses will be introduced under the Enua Ola Programme, Waitemata DHB’s flagship community development and health promotion programme for Pacific communities, which has so far focused on physical activity, nutrition and smoke free environments.

The introduction of parish nurses will enable the expansion of Enua Ola to include management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as simple health checks, screening, and child health concerns such as oral health and cellulitis.

Emi SuaniuSofai, health coordinator of the Enua Ola Programme for the Pacific Island Presbyterian Church in Glenfield says creating a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family has been challenging, but support from Enua Ola has made it much easier.

“Since joining the Enua Ola programme with my church family, I have gained a large amount of confidence in myself and have worked hard over the years to lose weight as well as implementing a healthy eating programme into my family and my church,” says Mrs SuaniuSofai.

“Enua Ola brings our community together – we have group exercise nights, morning and evening walks and we even share our healthy recipes!”

“This week we are celebrating Gagana Samoa (for Samoan Language Week) and its focus is Hold fast to your Treasures Taofi mau i au Measina. Enua Ola is one of my Measina (treasures) and I hold on to it dearly because it is my dream to be a healthier mother, grandmother, teacher and community leader.”

The Enua Ola Programme is one of the initiatives under the Our Health in Our Hands Pacific Health Action Plan, launched this week by Waitemata and Auckland District Health Boards. The plan includes six priorities developed in consultation with Pacific communities:

• That Pacific children are safe and families are free of violence
• That Pacific people are smoke free
• That Pacific people eat well and are physically active
• That Pacific people seek medical and other help early
• That Pacific people use hospital services when needed
• That Pacific families live in warm houses that are not overcrowded

ENDS

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