Kevin Pewhairangi - Tumuaki of the Māori Pharmacists Association announced that 10 Māori Pharmacists will be ready to help people over the phone, for free. Pewhairangi stressed that their service is for all people. Tapatahi spoke with Kelvin Pewhairangi about the lockdown and his insights were surprising to say the least.
Although his pharmacy offers a delivery service, Pewhairangi says that people would often decline delivery.
“People took it as an opportunity to escape their bubble and come out," Pewhairangi says.
Being able to escape their bubble and talk face to face with a medical professional was a benefit of coming to the chemist he says. Although his personal preference was that old people stay home, because of their vulnerabilities.
The purpose of the 0800 helpline was to help whānau understand their medication and to give appropriate advice. Although pharmacists are not doctors, they are required to undertake extensive studies so that they understand the medicines that they dispense.. This enables them to explain to people potential side effects, and benefits of the rongoā they are distributing. Pewhairangi says, that it still important for people to take care of themselves.
“Whatever’s going on with COVID-19 we still got to look after ourselves. Especially if we’ve got long-term conditions," Pewhairangi says.
Pehwairangi says that there are about 150 Māori pharmacists out of total of 3000 in Aotearoa.
To talk to a Māori Pharmacist, you call call them on 0800 664 688.