Waikato Area Committee team up with South Waikato Pacifica Trust

Louise Mukherji-Powell |

Hato Hone St John’s Waikato Area Committee are working with the South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Trust to help educate and improve minority health outcomes in the region.

The Trust recently held a Hauora in Tokoroa, with the goal of raising awareness within the community of important steps that can be taken to prevent and treat health conditions. On average, Māori and pacific peoples live seven years less than those of white European heritage and are twice as likely to die from preventable diseases such as stroke and heart disease.

Hato Hone St John attended the Hauora to offer blood pressure checks and to teach basic first aid via their 3 Steps for Life programme – which educates the public on how to call 111, administer CPR and use a defibrillator.

Coreen Pienaar, Hato Hone St John Waikato Community Engagement Coordinator, says that the more information the public has on preventative health, the better their health outcomes will be.

“Health equity is a big focus for our organisation, and it starts at community level. People don’t know what they don’t know, so it’s our job to inform them and show them what they can be doing to improve their own health situation.

“Even something as basic as dialling 111 and asking for an ambulance can be daunting for some people, so we talk them through what they can expect on that call. It’s often the fear of the unknown that stops people from acting in the moment, so we want to take away that hesitancy.”

Akarere Henry, Chief Executive of the Southern Waikato Pacific Island Community Services Trust, said she was delighted with the support from primary and secondary health services on the day.

 “The Hauora was a great success, and we couldn’t have done it without our local health providers turning up for our community. Along with Hato Hone St John, we had Te Whatu Ora Waikato, an ophthalmology procedures and assessment service, Oral Health, Tokoroa Medical Centre, bowel screening, breast screening, Hepatitis Foundation, Stroke Foundation, Raukawa Charitable Trust, Pinnacle Health, Braemar Charitable Trust, local health provider – Te Whetu Oranga Health Services, and National Hauora Coalition - all showing their commitment to health equity for minority groups in Tokoroa and the wider area. The feedback I received following the event was fantastic, with many attendees astonished at how much they had learned and with a new commitment to looking after their overall health much better in future.”

Following on from the Hauora, the Waka Ora Health Shuttle service for Tokoroa run by Hato Hone St John has seen an increase in the number of the pacific peoples’ community utilising it. The shuttle runs people to hospital appointments when they are unable to transport themselves – which can often end up in missing out on vital medical care. There had previously been a lack of awareness of the service, which was rectified at the Hauroa last month.

Ms. Pienaar says, “This increase in use of our health shuttle service is exactly the reason why we work with local communities to educate them on the healthcare options available to them. We don’t want anyone to feel like they are unable to have access to vital care, and we’ll continue to develop our relationship with the Southern Waikato Pacific Island Community Services Trust accordingly.”

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