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South Waikato Hauora Day Sets New Benchmark For Community Wellbeing

An event taking health and wellbeing in the community to the next level is how a South Waikato Hauora day is being described by Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Waikato.

Chief Medical Officer – Primary Care, Dr Julia Carr said the South Waikato Hauora (wellbeing) Day held at Tokoroa Hospital on 9 March was co-ordinated by the South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services Trust (SWPICS).

“This day provided a unique opportunity for Health NZ staff to combine with trusted, local primary care providers and our secondary colleagues to offer vaccinations, screening and information services to the community, in the setting of the community’s rural hospital.

“The generous and collaborative effort of all involved resulted in a welcoming atmosphere, and the uptake of services was really heartening to see.

“These events usually involve several of our screening and immunisation services teaming up with local providers but Saturday’s real point of difference was some people attending the Hauora day were able to attend outreach specialist clinics and undergo elective surgical procedures on site.”

This had been able to be done by identifying people in the community who were on the surgery waiting list and getting them seen.

The elective procedures conducted in Tokoroa Hospital’s Outpatients Clinic on the day were minor surgical procedures performed by Mr Jasen Ly in a PR Bleeding Clinic set up on behalf of the Braemar Charitable Trust which owns Hamilton’s Braemar Hospital.

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Trust manager Paula Baker said the organisation runs and funds a wide range of activities aimed at boosting health outcomes across the Waikato.

Surgeon Jason Ly with Braemar Charitable Trust Manager Paula Baker and SWPICS CEO Akarere Henry discuss the event

“Eight patients who had been on the public waiting list were able to receive treatment from Mr Ly or where needed, be referred for additional specialist care at the Hauora day which is great news,” she said.

Dr Stephen Ng and a team from Waikato Hospital provided vision screening for cataracts & keratoconus and pre-assessments for cataract surgery- a new model of care to improve access for surgery for people from disadvantaged communities in Waikato regions.

In all 82 people were screened by Stephen’s team and 18 people seen by the on-site clinic, 15 of whom were able to be pre-assessed for cataract surgery within the next three months.

SWPICS Chief Executive Akarere Henry said those procedures as well as vaccinations, screening services and general health and wellbeing advice shared with the 500-600 members of the public that visited the Hauora day were all part of a larger plan.

Health New Zealand’s Manager Pacific Health Te Manawa Taki Region, Tamati Peni discusses services on offer with locals Poko and Lucy Natua

“One of the challenges of rural communities is ‘access.’ This initiative sought to reduce the inequities impacting our communities by deploying outreach health services to reduce barriers to health care for priority populations in the South Waikato.

“As a community provider we’re extremely grateful for the willingness of all partners to work collectively and demonstrate the better utilisation of resources within the one space. SWPICS is deeply honoured to have been able to coordinate this day and bring about its success because it is what the community wants.”

Both Akarere and Julia said it is hoped Saturday’s event will be the first of many such initiatives where the shared outcomes of placing whānau /aiga / kopu tangata (family) at the heart, is tangibly seen and felt.

All smiles, Community Oral Health Dental Assistants Sarah Marsters and Jass Rai

Services provided by the participating 12 agencies included:

  • Body Mass Indexing
  • Blood Pressure reading
  • Cataract assessment
  • Keratoconus
  • PR Bleeding Clinic
  • Bowel Screening
  • Breast Screening
  • Stop Smoking support
  • Mental Health/ Korero Mai
  • Maternity Services
  • Child Immunisations
  • Cervical Screening
  • AWHI Healthy Homes
  • Drive through vaccines
  • Oral Health

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