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Healthier Pacific mums and babies target for new conference

MEDIA RELEASE

June 17, 2013

Healthier Pacific mums and babies target for new conference

Healthier Pacific mums and babies are the target for New Zealand’s first Pacific Maternal and Infant Health Conference this Thursday, June 20 in Auckland.

The conference’s keynote speaker, Dr Karaponi (Kara) Okesene-Gafa, highlights the increasing volume of gestational diabetes cases among Pacific ethnicities.

“Improving outcomes for Pacific pregnant women and their babies no doubt calls for multi-faceted, joined up approaches” says Kara, “having a greater understanding of what constitutes a healthy pregnancy is paramount.”

Teaching families a greater understanding is the challenge, with current antenatal education not engaging for Pacific peoples. TAHA Well Pacific Mother and Infant Service, the conference convenors, will launch the new Tapuaki antenatal education toolkit, or curriculum. The curriculum will enable childbirth educators to improve health education among Pacific pregnant women and their families.

“Solutions that empower Pacific families should be at the forefront of all our discussions” says Dr Teuila Percival, Director TAHA. “The Tapuaki curriculum focuses on engagement first, followed by best practice in delivering key messages.”

Pacific peoples have the highest birth rate in the country; Pacific births make up 12% of total births in New Zealand each year, with approximately 70% of all Pacific babies born in the Auckland region.

The Pacific maternal and infant health conference will gather research and clinical experts to share evidence and innovations for improving pregnancy outcomes, and in turn, discuss potential areas for focus and development.

The Tapuaki Conference forms Day One of the Maori and Pacific Maternal and Infant Health Forum, preceding the Mokopuna Ora - Maori SUDI Prevention Conference hosted by Whakawhetu on Day Two.

ENDS

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