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Health of Older Maori Chart Book released

Health of Older Maori Chart Book released

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia today launched Tatau Kura Tangata : Health of Older Maori Chart Book 2011, which looks at the health of Maori aged 50 years and over.

"The chart book's data on the health of older Maori is a useful resource for policy makers and planners in the health and disability sector " Mrs Turia said in reflecting on her presentation to the National Kaumatua Service Providers Conference held today in Hamilton.

"We hope that the publication will help to increase the understanding of the health of older Maori, and provide the evidence base for policies and programmes" she added.

"The Government is continuing its efforts to ensure all New Zealanders live long, healthy and independent lives. These efforts are partly aimed at improving health outcomes for Maori".

Tatau Kura Tangata shows that Maori over the age of 50 have poorer health outocmes and a higher burden of chronic illness than non-Maori of the same age. For example in 2006, Maori life expectancy at age 50 was at least six years less than that for non-Maori.

With regard to chronic conditions, lung cancer ranked higher for Maori than for non-Maori. Diabetes featured in the top five causes of death for Maori aged 50 or above, but not for non-Maori. Maori also had significantly higher mortality and hospitalisation rates for total cardio-vascular disease than non-Maori.

Although there were no significant differences between older Maori and non-Maori in reporting having seen a GP in the last 12 months, Maori females aged 65 years or above were less likely than non-Maori femals of the same age to visit a GP for a long-term illness. Maori females aged 50-64 years were significantly more likely than non-Maori females of the same age to have had uncollected prescriptions in the past twelve months.

Tatau Kura Tangata: Health of Older Maori Chart Book 2011 is a companion document to Tatau Kahukura: Maori Health Chart Book 2010 - which was released last September. Both publications are available on the Ministry of Health and the Maori Health websites.

Tatau Kura Tangata: Health of Older Māori Chart Book 2011 (PDF, 600 KB)

Tatau Kahukura: Māori Health Chart Book 2010, 2nd Edition (PDF, 962 KB)

Questions and answers
Why is there a focus on the health of older Māori people?
Older Māori are the focus of this report because this population will comprise a larger portion of the older population in future years, increasing from 6.8 percent of the 50 years and above population in 2006 to 9.5 percent in 2026. As the demographic balance in New Zealand changes, the Government will be required to spend an increasing proportion of the health budget on older New Zealanders. It is therefore becoming increasingly important for the health sector to plan for an ageing population. Tatau Kura Tangata: Health of Older Māori Chart Book 2011 provides access to robust and accurate data about older Māori people, which is essential to any policy and planning process within the health and disability system.

Analytical reports about older people usually look at those aged 65 years and over - why does Tatau Kura Tangata: Health of Older Māori Chart Book 2011 start at age 50?
This chart book looks at those aged 50 years and above because Māori continue to have a lower life expectancy than non-Māori. An increase in health service demand and Māori health service needs is expected, particularly given that Māori over the age of 50 have poorer health outcomes and a higher burden of chronic illness than non-Māori of the same age. Additionally, due to small numbers of Māori aged 65 years and above, analysis from age 50 has allowed for a further age and gender breakdown while ensuring the estimates are reliable.

What health indicators are used in Tatau Kura Tangata: Health of Older Māori Chart Book 2011?
The health indicators in Tatau Kura Tangata: Health of Older Māori Chart Book 2011 relate to Māori health priority areas as identified in He Korowai Oranga: The Māori Health Strategy and the New Zealand Health Strategy. The indicators were selected because they can signal wider health concerns, focus on health issues, be reliably and validly monitored, and are responsive to change.

What do the indicators show?
The indicators show that older Māori have poorer health outcomes and a higher burden of chronic illness than older non-Māori and are more likely to be exposed to risk factors for poor health.

How is the health and disability sector working to improve Māori health outcomes?
Improving health outcomes of Māori is one of the Government’s priorities, as outlined in the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000.

He Korowai Oranga: Māori Health Strategy provides the key strategic framework for improving Māori health outcomes. Central to He Korowai Oranga is the achievement of whānau ora. The Primary Health Care Strategy, which builds on the population health focus and objectives of the New Zealand Health Strategy and the New Zealand Disability Strategy, is another key vehicle in improving Māori health outcomes.

Over the last two years, considerable focus has been given to specific actions in the area of Older People’s Health. These actions include: (1) the improved monitoring of rest homes through spot audits and the publication of summary audit results, and (2) the roll-out of interRAI (through DHBs) as an assessment tool that will assist in the development of a personalised care plan for those needing support.

Positives initiatives being supported include the Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust, a kaumātua-led and -driven organisation that delivers health, social, recreational and education services to kaumātua in Hamilton and other health promotion and education for kaumātua services

How can the report be used as a resource?
The information in Tatau Kura Tangata: Health of Older Māori Chart Book 2011 will guide the Ministry of Health, DHBs and other agencies in updating their respective strategies and action plans to improve the health of older Māori.

The report provides reliable and easily accessible information on key Māori health indicators, which can help policymakers and service planners in developing policy and services, and in allocating resources. The easy-to-use statistical information will also be helpful for policy analysts, students and the wider community in gaining a better understanding of the health of older Māori.

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