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MOU Signing Includes Rural Maori Health Service

ProCare Media Release

Monday, July 14th 2008

MOU Signing Includes New Rural Maori Health Service

A major new initiative to bring mobile health services to rural Maori all around the Franklin and Waikato region is set to launch later this year.

The initiative forms part of a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being signed this week between Huakina Development Trust and ProCare Network Manukau.

Under the MOU agreement, three Tainui/Waikato marae are to act as health service ‘hub’ sites for a wider group of 14 marae. Whanau will be regularly transported from all around the region to the hub sites for health visits.

The service will be co-ordinated by a Practice Nurse, who will be on site and available two days a week. A GP will also be available once a week and the team will also include a podiatrist, smoke cessation counselor, dietician services and a community health co-ordinator, who will join together on site in block sessions one day of the week. A full range of primary health care services will be provided, including immunisations, screenings and case management.

As well as providing for the new primary health care service, the MOU formalises a strong three year working relationship between ProCare Network Manukau and Huakina that has already included the launch of a successful joint health promotion programme. The Oranga Pai programme has been running since May 2007 and so far has involved seven local Kaiwhakahaere (or lifestyle/sports coordinators) running nutrition and physical activity programmes across 10 Franklin marae. The Kaiwhakahaere were recently honoured for their achievements in improving the wellbeing of their marae communities at a formal presentation ceremony held in Auckland.

More than 6000 Maori live in the area and the MOU cements the two organisations’ commitment to continuing to strive to improve the local peoples’ health, its organisers say.

“One of the key issues facing Maori today is that their incidence of smoking, cardiovascular disease and diabetes is significantly higher than national levels,” says ProCare’s Maori Health Manager, Dale-Lynne Sherman-Godinet.

“Now, together we can set about facing the challenge of reducing these levels and helping to create healthy lifestyles for the community.”

A key outcome of the MOU and new primary health care service will be the ability to collect hard data on the health status of the rural marae population, says ProCare Network Manukau Executive Officer Kate Moodabe.

“We’re really excited about this,” says Kate. “We really don’t know anything about the health status of this population group other than information about their high death rate, particularly amongst younger people. Now we’ll be able to collect baseline information, watch the improvements we make in areas such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes screening and management and smoke cessation and be able to tailor future health services accordingly.

“We’ll be able to make a huge difference.”

Huakina CEO Tim Tahapehi says his organisation was established in the 1970s by a group of elders wanting to look after the environment of the Manukau Harbour, Waikato River and its surrounding areas. Since then its portfolio has evolved and now includes a wider range of unmet needs, including health care services.

“We’re pleased to offer health care services in a marae setting, and under our MOU with ProCare Network Manukau we will be able to achieve this,” says Tim.

Local media are invited to attend the signing of this historic MOU and hear more detail on the initiatives it involves. The signing ceremony will take place at 6.30pm, Wednesday July 16th, at 9/11 Tobin St, Pukekohe.


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