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Greater Māori participation in health workforce

23 November 2007 Media Statement

Greater Māori participation in health workforce urged

Associate Health Minister Hon Mita Ririnui today urged greater Māori participation in the health and disability workforce, saying it was crucial in improving health outcomes for Māori.

“Building capable and competent Māori health workers is important in improving health outcomes for Māori and in providing appropriate care to Māori individuals and their whānau,” Mr Ririnui said.

“Greater Māori participation in the health and disability workforce is important in providing health care that is both relevant and culturally appropriate for Māori,” he stressed.

Mr Ririnui made the comments at the graduation of 26 Māori health workers who undertook a course in frontline management funded under the Ministry of Health’s Māori Provider Development Scheme.

In 2005/06, the Māori Provider Development Scheme funded Central Region district health boards – including Capital and Coast, Wairarapa, MidCentral, Wanganui, Hawkes Bay and Hutt Valley – to develop, implement and monitor projects that would benefit Māori health providers and their clients.

A key project involves increasing the number of Māori health workers in management positions with recognised qualifications. Funding has been provided to support Māori health workers in pursuing a Diploma in Frontline Management offered by the New Zealand Institute of Management or an allied National Certificate of Educational Achievement certificate.

Two regional courses have so far been completed, each involving 15 students. A third course began in September 2007 and is expected to be completed in May 2008.

Mr Ririnui said developing a flexible Māori health workforce was crucial in meeting changing health needs and increased demand for services in the future. A greater incidence of chronic illness and the changing ethnic make-up of the population are expected to pose additional challenges.

“If Māori are to live longer, have healthier lives, and fulfil their potential to participate in New Zealand society, the factors that cause inequalities need to be addressed.”

“Investing in Māori workforce development is an effective approach that is likely to result in better prevention, earlier intervention and better treatment outcomes for Māori,” he added.

ENDS


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