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Launch of Health video, 'Kei te mate to manawa'

Hon Tariana Turia
28 March 2001 Speech Notes

Launch of Health video, 'Kei te mate to manawa', Lower Hutt Hospital

Tena koutou katoa,

I am very pleased to be invited here today to launch this new health promotional video resource.

As we know, heart failure is a major cardiovascular problem with a steadily increasing incidence and prevalence internationally and in New Zealand.

The need for good patient information on this topic has been identified by patients, whanau, general practitioners and cardiologists. Maori are a priority audience, in order to participate fully in society we must be healthy. As whanau we know that we need healthy hearts. We all have personal experience of dealing with heart problems whether it be ourselves or with a loved one.

In order to increase our health status we need to look at the lifestyles we lead and ensure that we, as whanau, hapu and iwi are living healthy lifestyles and teaching our children healthy lifestyles.

There are many aspects of lifestyle affected by the heart –sleep, appetite, ability to sing, how much activity you can comfortably do etc. It is an ‘everyday’ issue that if treated properly can really improve people’s comfort and ability to function.

While we must take responsibility within our whanau, hapu and iwi to ensure we are creating opportunities to improve our health and wellbeing, some will at times require medical treatment.

Medical treatment for heart failure is simple and effective. It is one of many medical conditions that can be effectively self-managed by the patient. However, good self-management requires well-informed patients and an effective partnership between patients, families and the health system.

Access to adequate medical treatment for our whanau, is an issue that I would like to raise today. Providing access to adequate information to ensure our whanau are fully informed is most commonly left to Doctors. What is of concern to me is whether or not enough information and appropriate information is being provided to our people to ensure they are able to make fully informed decisions.

My concern is in the number of people who have sat with me and talked about being involved in a process that they did not understand. The use of technical language, the behaviour and attitude of Doctors towards whanau are critical issues if we are to assist in addressing such a critical issue.

It is also interesting to note also who has constantly received the majority of the heart operations when the heart failure statistics for Maori are at such a high rate.

Our whanau must also be provided with appropriate follow-up support to ensure that the full treatment programme is understood and followed. Heart treatment usually requires long-term medication and people often feel reluctant to take medication unless they understand the long term benefits.

It is very common for patients to take medication when they are unwell but to feel, once they are no longer short of breath or swollen up, that there is no need to swallow several tablets every day. They often make this choice without adequate information about the impact of the decision on their life expectancy. This also accounts for much preventable hospitalisation.

Whanau members who are hospitalised must access treatments that are needed to properly diagnose their conditions. Keeping them in overnight and sending them home with limited knowledge and understanding is intolerable. Attitudes of health professionals must change if we are to address the high number of Maori deaths.

If patients are to be active participants in decisions about their care, the information they are given must accord with available evidence and be presented in a form that is acceptable and useful.

I would be interested to know if as suggested promotional videos were the preferred way to get information to whanau. This particular video is well presented because it is always more meaningful to hear the stories of those who suffer from particular illnesses tell their own story which is one that all whanau can relate to.

“We want people like us, talking to people like us”

The video is good because you can take it home and share it with the whanau. It educates the whole whanau, not just the patient.

This video seeks to meet those needs –it’s not trying to teach people everything there is to know about heart failure. It’s about encouraging those faced with the reality of a heart that's not quite working 100% to find out what they need to know, to ‘take it on’, to feel positive and confident in managing it. It is about sharing stories and experience in an inspiring but very practical way.

It always takes someone who has the confidence of the people to get their participation and in this case Julia Carr has played a major role. David Tipene Leach and Tania Riddell continue to make an enormous contribution to the health and wellbeing of whanau and this is but another.

The video could not have been made without the participation of those people who agreed to share their stories. They have offered their personal wisdom and in doing so, will give others strength and confidence.


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