Cancer whānau will be directly impacted by vaccine rollout

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Māori cancer specialists are worried the already glaring inequities faced by Māori for cancer treatment are being amplified under the latest Delta outbreak.

National Māori cancer leadership Hei Āhuru Mōwai chief executive Moahuia Goza says Māori are twice as likely to die from cancer as non-Māori and she anticipates that these statistics will only be exacerbated for as long as the Covid pandemic persists.

“We need Māori to be vaccinated and for them to be a priority,” Goza. says. "How the vaccination plan is rolled out will have a direct impact on cancer whānau.”    

Hei Āhuru Mōwai recently sent a list of 10 equity requirements to government ministers, including a call for Māori to have prioritised access to vaccinations, cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment services.

“We essentially need mana motuhake across local, regional, and national policy. We need public servants to give us the fund or resources or actually get out of the way.

“If they (New Zealand government) cannot see in minutes that they have intentionally disproportionately supported and funded Māori, then they actually need to go," Goza says.