Helping Māori providers to support iwi
23/04/2020 9:48:57 a.m.

Thursday 23 April 2020


Helping Māori providers to support iwi

Māori providers in the Lakes DHB area and its communities will benefit from Ministry of Health funding to support Māori providers during COVID-19.

Lakes DHB General Manager Māori Health Phyllis Tangitu says the first pot of funds is a grant to help providers that need support, to organise what they need to do to respond to COVID-19. 

There are 11 Māori providers in the Lakes DHB area.

Phyllis says the fund was specifically allocated to providers who were directly impacted by the lockdown, for example enabling the staff to work from home, establishing a remote service and having the telecommunication equipment to be able to do this.

“We had to look and see who was most impacted by COVID-19 and give providers an opportunity to apply based on the criteria,” Phyllis says.

A second pot of funding is for community outreach and supports Māori providers to reprioritise and redirect efforts and services during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The funding gives practical effect to the COVID-19 response to enable a range of supports for
kaumātua, people who are self isolating and unwell, and vulnerable people who need assistance.”

Phyllis says the DHB is still working through the outreach possibilities; with an example being an outreach flu immunisation service for over 60s, and priority groups of hapu māmā, those with chronic health conditions and children with respiratory conditions.

“The fund is considering innovative models and is an opportunity to form relationships with providers, primary care and iwi and we are supporting that approach,” Phyllis says.

Other ideas for focus include more COVID-19 testing for Māori with symptoms and there is work underway to have mobile swabbing teams to small rural communities like Kaingaroa, Reporoa and Mangakino.

The third priority for the funding is to ensure other DHB priorities, for example, work with hapu māmā continues to be delivered in the current lockdown environment.

The two immediate ones are flu immunisation and COVID-19 testing, Phyllis says.

Phyllis says the DHB is currently looking at a Maori whānau immunisation service in
Taupō /Turangi and working with Te Kapua Whakapīpī, Tūwharetoa Health Services, Pinnacle Midlands Health Network and Lakes DHB.

“There is evidence that we have been struggling to meet the Ministry of Health targets for immunisation in Taupō/Turangi for some time. This includes for influenza as well as pregnant mothers and children.”

Phyllis says this is an opportunity to develop an iwi designed service with iwi oversight and support, and with support from the health providers to ensure clinical expertise.

“With both kaupapa support and clinical expertise, we hope this development will work. Further, Te Kapua Whakapīpī, and Tūwharetoa Health services know their community so this is an enabler to advance this initiative.”

“We believe if we put a concerted effort in to creating a Maori Whanau Immunisation Team and work collaboratively with primary care and develop an integrated service across the community and hospital, including with Plunket, WellChild Tuwharetoa Health, and iwi we could make a difference.”
Phyllis says the idea is one of the positive initiatives that could come out of this difficult emergency situation, with people working collaboratively to deliver a seamless whanau immunisation service.

“COVID presents an opportunity to do things better. We know that immunisation rates are not as good as they should be in Taupō, so if we develop an integrated Māori whanau immunisation service that prioritises the needs of Māori whanau and works collaboratively across the continuum, it has to be a good thing and could be a model to go forward.”

“One of the things I’m sensing is a real willingness to establish relationships and work together with an integrated, collaborative type approach. We can’t do it without each other.”

Phyllis says Lakes DHB Planning and Funding is helping to work with providers to seek expressions of interest and to process them.