Māori health providers mobilise to protect whānau from Covid-19

updated By D'Angelo Martin

As of today, Aotearoa has 39 cases of Coronavirus, 11 of these being identified in the last 24 hours. All 39 of these cases have links to overseas travel.

Whānau in the regions say that vital information isn’t being communicated fast enough. Whānau Ora providers will now start distributing hygiene packs to Māori communities and Northland health provider Te Hau Āwhiowhio is taking its services directly to where it’s needed.

Te Hau Āwhiowhio are not letting a drop in staff numbers stop them from caring for their community.

“Home visits have only been offered to our chronic care patients.

“Our kuia, kaumātua and the ones who really really need it," Charlie Kaipo says.

The clinic has issued an isolation approach to how they operate, minimising direct contact with patients. Charlie Kaipo explains the safety protocols that are being employed, "If someone is slightly unwell, we tell them to call us first instead of coming through our doors.

“Just to minimise that contact and if possible we will try do all treatment and consultations over the phone."

Linda Makiha explains how the clinic have managed to keep up with the increased workload, "I still see the same people I will give them more information.

“I must say our phones are overloading with phone calls about people.

“Saying, "I've got a sore throat this has happened, I've been here, I've been there.

“It's about informing our whānau."

Charlie Kaipo spoke about the increased supply of flu vaccines being made available for whānau and how they plan to use them:

"We're holding a flu vaccination tomorrow.

“That was an idea for our team because historically our whānau aren't the best at getting flu vaccinations.

“So this year we're trying to make it more accessible."

Pop up clinics will open tomorrow in Auckland to increase the numbers of testing, current systems in place can take a total of 1500 tests a day.

The Director-General says that work is being done to ensure nationwide hospitals are prepared.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield says, “We are just completing a stocktake of all of our ICU beds, all the other areas that could be turned into ICU areas and the number of ventilators in both the public and private sector.”

Whānau Ora providers are taking a proactive approach by distributing 30,000 hygiene packages across the country. Waipareira Trust CEO, John Tamihere explains how the packages will be distributed.

“The first tranche, 2,000 only goes to Whangārei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua and Gisborne.

“The second 10,000 tranche is delivered into New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Wairarapa and Napier.”

Waipareira Trust was one of the first Whānau Ora providers in Aotearoa. As such, they are ready to do what it takes to assist the nation.

“We are demanding that we are resourced to drive this into our population.

“Because we will be the worse affected if this virus takes off,” Tamihere concludes.