News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

NZ's Most Covid-vulnerable Areas - Expert Reaction

Kiwi researchers have created maps of the country showing each region’s vulnerability to Covid-19.

They took into account Covid-19 risk factors like age, population density, and long-term health conditions - as well as ethnicity and awareness of health services.

The SMC asked experts to comment on the research.

Dr Jesse Wiki, GeoHealth Laboratory, Geospatial Research Institute, University of Canterbury, comments:

Note: Dr Wiki is a co-author on this research.

“Many factors can make populations vulnerable to adverse health outcomes and mortality related to COVID-19 including socioeconomic and demographic factors as well as pre-existing health conditions. Knowing who these population groups are, and where they are, can help inform the healthcare sector and support good health outcomes for the New Zealand population.

"Using data on a range of known risk factors and geospatial methods, we examined and mapped vulnerability nationwide. Results demonstrate unequal social and spatial vulnerabilities across New Zealand, with important distinctions based on health, sociocultural and socioeconomic factors. Interestingly, many areas of high vulnerability were located in small towns and communities, particularly those with large Māori populations. This is an important consideration given that such areas typically have less access to healthcare and fewer resources.

"By providing a spatial understanding of vulnerability this research can guide healthfocused policy to areas where interventions may be needed and generates information that can mitigate potential inequality in government response. It also provides support for the idea of targeted protective measures and precautions that can be effective locally, important considerations in the overall policy response.”

No conflict of interest.

Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Epidemiologist, Department of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington, comments:

"This nice paper by Wiki et al. presents a very useful approach to pandemic planning.

“As the authors explain, vulnerability to Covid-19 depends on a number of factors including older age, disadvantage, background medical conditions, and smoking. These factors tend to occur together, creating a ‘syndemic’ situation where people experience multiple types of disadvantage, leading to multiple health issues. It’s complex: for example, one of the effects of colonisation is that Māori and Pacific populations overall have shorter life expectancy than other ethnicities. So there are a lot of people who are simply missing from the map, and others who are vulnerable at a relatively young age.

“While no analysis can capture all of the complexity, this type of approach is a huge advance on looking at health factors one by one. An important contribution of the paper is that the methods used to understand and communicate about overlapping risk factors could be used in many other ways: to plan the response to a new pandemic for example, or to map strengths and resources in communities across the country. Area-based information about strengths and risks has enormous value in a public health emergency because it can guide decision makers to get the right resources immediately to where they’re needed, without waiting for things to go wrong."

No conflict of interest.

Associate Professor Collin Tukuitonga, Associate Dean Pacific, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, comments:

“This study confirms findings from other New Zealand studies that some groups are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection, hospitalisation and death. Indigenous Māori and Pacific people are among the most vulnerable to viral infections, including COVID-19. Increased risk of COVID-19 infection and death is thought to be due to their adverse socioeconomic circumstances such as overcrowded housing and higher prevalence of co-morbid conditions, including diabetes.

“This study used geospatial methods based on the 2018 Census and existing databases, where they were able to demonstrate unequal social and spatial vulnerabilities across New Zealand. COVID-19 disproportionately aects older people and those with compromised health among other factors. Older age was the most significant factor affecting increased vulnerability to COVID-19. While these populations are at greater risk of adverse health outcomes and mortality from COVID-19, there are also known health inequities in care and access across New Zealand, particularly for ethnic minorities and those living in socioeconomically deprived areas. Areas with high Māori and Pacific populations are among the most vulnerable, including South Auckland and Porirua. Identifying where these areas of high vulnerability are located allows for better targeting of resources."

No conflict of interest.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>


Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland