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District Health Boards Need Ethnic Voices


Health Specialist Says District Health Boards Need Ethnic Voices

District health boards (DHBs) are responsible for providing or funding the provision of health services in their district. Apart from owning and funding public hospitals, they function by setting the overall strategic direction of the health service organisation and by monitoring its performance.

Philippines-born health specialist Monina Gesmundo, one of the candidates to the Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB), says DHBs are expected to show a sense of social responsibility and to foster community participation in health improvement.

“DHBs can very well improve, promote and protect the health of people and communities by promoting inclusion and participation. Having migrants in the DHB would be a manifestation of inclusion in a richly diverse population.”

Ms Gesmundo’s outstanding credentials make her a serious contender for a seat on the WDHB. She is the mother of two teenage daughters. She is internationally acknowledged for her specialist expert achievements and advocacy in health-related areas such as infection prevention and control, high-risk postnatal practice, and the effective use of catheters. Her numerous publications on a range of other local community health issues are acknowledged by her medical peers.

Ms Gesmundo is committed to adopting a holistic approach to health. She has a high-level vision for how local district health boards should prioritise their future commitments. She works with nurses and patients every day and has witnessed patient-safety and staff shortage issues that need to be addressed.

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“Among my targets are prioritisation of the budget for vital facilities and equipment and safe staffing. These are fundamental for me as this would facilitate the achievement of patient safety goals and other existing health programme goals. I am saying this in the light of current health budget cuts that result in patient safety and unsafe staffing issues.

“I want to see long-term health outcomes being carried, through proper allocation of health resources and the reprioritisation of critical health expenditure. I want to have health inequalities reprioritised and the root causes of poor health fully & quickly attended to.”

Ms Gesmundo is confident she has the credentials to provide the necessary advocacy the local community seeks in such an important role of health administration.

“I am a health specialist and practitioner who put my values into action. My concern for patients, their whanau and hospital staff motivated me to run for a local health board position.

“My community involvement and advocacy work which span two decades provide me with a deep and holistic understanding of the factors that improve or impair health. I intend to use this holistic knowledge – from governance to hospital floor – to help shape policies that will further improve health service in areas covered by the Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB).”

Ms Gesmundo holds a Masters in Nursing (Honours) from University of Auckland, and is an incoming faculty at Massey University. She is President of the Filipino Nurses Association of NZ, Inc., and is active in the NZ Nurses Organisation.

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