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New health clinic to reach more vulnerable children

Well Foundation CEO Andrew Young and the Raki family, Tania, Etua and Shantelle

New health clinic to reach more vulnerable children

Detecting and removing a piece of lego and toy battery from a 10-year-old boy’s ear, that had likely been there for years, and getting him into the system for ongoing ear treatment is a stand out case for a mobile health clinic, which is about to expand to help more vulnerable children living in some of the most deprived communities in the Waitemata district.

After failing a school hearing test and struggling to keep up in class, Etua Raki was taken by his mother Tania to a Waitemata DHB mobile health clinic last year where these foreign objects were found and removed by a public health nurse.

Now 11, Etua still has a long road ahead of tests, treatment and possibly surgery to try and reverse damage caused by the foreign objects, but without the mobile health clinic service being available and easily accessible for Tania and her kids, it could have been many more years before Etua got help – when damage could have been much worse.

Waitemata DHB’s official fundraising body, the Well Foundation, recently fundraised for a new $210,000 more advanced mobile health clinic which will help thousands of children like Etua to access vital healthcare.

It replaces one of DHB’s two current clinics which are almost 18 years old and mechanically unreliable. It has a self-sufficient power supply, meaning nurses no longer need to run a power lead to use it and will be able to access new areas and locations in the community, assessing and treating new patients.

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With a significant number of children living in poverty as well as overcrowded housing, there’s a real need to ensure the clinic can stand up to the demand and provide this service for those struggling to make ends meet.

“The early intervention care this mobile health clinic offers is so important, particularly with a growing population of 153,000 children aged up to 19 years living in the district,” says Waitemata DHB Chief Executive Dr Dale Bramley “It has proven to break down barriers that typically stop people from accessing health care when they need it and often before a small health problem becomes a big one. The new clinic is better equipped to handle future demand and will allow us to reach more vulnerable people.”

The new clinic will be used by DHB public health nurses in schools, early childhood centres and other public spaces to provide ear check-ups and treatment, throat swabbing as part of the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme, general health advice, treatment and referrals when required.

With the old clinics previously only used in West Auckland suburbs and some areas of Rodney, the new clinic enables the DHB to expand the service to the North Shore. It will be used for monthly clinics at Te Puna Hauora, a medical and community support service based in an area of North Shore where there are pockets of poverty and need.

The new clinic has been made possible through support from the local community and Well Foundation supporters, including The Trusts Community Foundation, ProCare Charitable Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation and various Rotary clubs.

“We couldn’t ignore the opportunity to take on a fundraising project like this which will help so many and we continued to be amazed by stories during our fundraising about children and families who have benefitted, sometimes in a life changing way from visiting the clinic,” says Well Foundation CEO, Andrew Young. “Knowing this new clinic will enable more people to get help when they need it is so rewarding for the foundation and its supporters.”

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