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Maori Health Strategy Launch


He Korowai Oranga: Maori Health Strategy Launch

Health Minister Annette King and Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia say the Government has made a strong commitment to improving Maori health with the release of a Maori health strategy and action plan.

“He Korowai Oranga: Maori Health Strategy recognises and builds on the considerable strengths and assets of whanau, hapu, and iwi Maori. ‘Whanau ora’ (family health and wellbeing) is at the heart of this strategy, because it is the whanau that is the foundation of Maori society,” Mrs Turia said.

Ms King and Mrs Turia said the strategy and action plan showed how the Government will meet its commitments under the Treaty of Waitangi, and reduce inequalities between Maori and non-Maori, by empowering whanau to achieve their own health and development goals.

The strategy sets the direction for Maori health development for the next five to 10 years, and Whakatataka: Maori Health Action Plan 2002-2005 outlines how the Government will implement the strategy.

“He Korowai Oranga recognises that both Maori and the Government will play critical roles in getting the desired health outcomes for whanau. It emphasises that Maori have a pivotal role to play in achieving whanau ora through whanau development and community-led initiatives, and by the Government recognising Maori models of health and wellness,” said Mrs Turia.

The three key themes in the strategy are Maori aspirations for rangatiratanga (control) over their own lives, maintaining and building on gains already made in Maori health, and reducing health inequalities between Maori and non-Maori.

Whanau ora will be reached by developing: whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori communities; Maori participation in the health and disability sector; and effective health and disability services that work across sectors.

“If Maori are to have healthier lives and fulfil their potential, then all the factors that affect health need to be addressed. We can do this by providing integrated health and social services, with multi-disciplinary teams assisting individuals and their whanau to make their choices,” Mrs Turia said. “He Korowai Oranga challenges us to create environments where whanau can shape and direct their own lives. If our tamariki and rangatahi are well, they can enjoy and learn from their elders. And if our pakeke, kuia and koroua are healthy, they can enjoy and support the young ones.”

He Korowai Oranga was released as a discussion document last year after extensive consultation with other Government agencies, Maori health providers and consumers and input from a sector reference group.

Ms King said the regional consultation hui and public submissions showed how much interest there was in the strategy. “That's why the action plan, Whakatataka, is so important. It sets out goals, performance measures and practical steps the Ministry of Health, District Health Boards (DHBs) and the health sector will take when implementing the strategy,'' Ms King said.

“Some of these steps have already been included in Ministry of Health work programmes and DHB plans. But many more health and disability goals need to be achieved so whanau can fully participate in New Zealand society.''

Ms King said the action plan will be regularly updated as milestones are achieved.

DHBs, the Ministry of Health and other funders and providers would be expected to prioritise Maori health within their funding allocations, she said. “The Ministry will work with central agencies and DHBs to set national funding targets for investment in Maori health, and monitor the funding actually allocated.

“Investment in improved Maori health, and especially in preventing avoidable illness, will reduce demand for some hospital and disability services in the longer term, as well as reducing the overall cost to whanau and the wider society.

“While some goals are long term and may take time to show results, there should be some immediate gains in areas such as better access to primary health care services, fewer diabetes complications, improved immunisation rates or a drop in the number of people smoking,'' said Ms King.

Ms King and Mrs Turia are releasing He Korowai Oranga and Whakatataka today at a launch in Wellington. Three regional launches will also be held in Rotorua (November 15), Manukau City (November 22) and Christchurch (November 25).

He Korowai Oranga and Whakatataka can be viewed on the Ministry of Health website at www.moh.govt.nz or at http://www.maorihealth.govt.nz.

Questions and Answers

What is He Korowai Oranga? It is the Maori health strategy, which sets a new direction for Maori health development over the next 10 years, building on the gains made in the past decade.

The strategy sets out to address unacceptable health inequalities between Maori and non-Maori, and the Government's commitment to Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi, as reflected in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act.

Maori life-expectancy is eight years less on average than that of non-Maori, while hospitalisation rates for all causes are nearly double for Maori than non-Maori.

What does He Korowai Oranga mean? Literally translated, it means “the cloak of wellness”. The Maori health strategy symbolises the protective cloak and mana of the people - the cloak that embraces, develops and nurtures the people physically and spiritually.

Where does He Korowai Oranga fit with strategies already in place? The New Zealand Health Strategy 2000 and the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2000 are the Government's platform for action on health and disability, including Maori health. He Korowai Oranga adds to the principles and objectives for Maori in both strategies and takes them to the next stage by providing more detail on how Maori health goals will be achieved.

What is the overall aim of He Korowai Oranga? It focuses on whanau ora: Maori families supported to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing.

Why is whanau ora so important? Whanau is recognised as the foundation of Maori society. As a principal source of strength, support, security and identity, whanau plays a central role in the wellbeing of Maori individually and collectively.

What is Whakatataka? It is the Maori health action plan. It describes what needs to be done in the next two to three years to achieve the aims of He Korowai Oranga.

What does Whakatataka mean? It is the weaving of strands to create a pattern that eventually forms a taonga such as a korowai (cloak).

Why is there a separate action plan? He Korowai Oranga sets a long-term direction. Most actions to implement the strategy, however, are short-term, but will contribute to the long-term aims. Separating the two allows the action plan to be regularly updated to build on achievements.

How will the Government fund the strategy? He Korowai Oranga will be resourced from the three-year health funding package set for the health and disability sector from 2002 to 2005. The funding path takes into account changes in population, costs and technology, as well as new policy initiatives such as the Primary Health Care Strategy. The Government has committed $50 million, $165 million, and $195 million in 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05 respectively to implement the Primary Health Care Strategy. A key objective is to improve access to and effectiveness of primary care services for Maori.

What about the Maori Provider Development Scheme? The Maori Provider Development Scheme will continue to be available to help Maori workforce and provider development. The scheme has been used to support Maori providers to develop the infrastructure and management capacity they need to be effective, sustainable providers and to support clinical and community-based workforce development. The Government will review the level of funding - currently $10 million per year (GST inclusive) – and criteria for the scheme to ensure they are consistent with the objectives of He Korowai Oranga.

How many Maori health and disability providers are there around New Zealand? There are more than 200 providing health and disability services around the country.

When will Whakatataka begin to implement He Korowai Oranga objectives? This work has already started. Whakatataka clearly states timeframes for each action point.

Who is responsible for monitoring He Korowai Oranga? The Ministry of Health has the lead responsibility for monitoring progress on the strategy. The National Health Committee will also provide an overview and analysis of the implementation.


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