Wellington Scoop

DHB sets nine year target to achieve health equity for Māori

Press Release – Hutt Valley DHB
Hutt Valley DHB has launched an ambitious goal for Māori health. Te Pae Amorangi, the DHB’s Māori Health Strategy 2018-2027, has set nine years to achieve health equity for Māori.

Launched at Hutt Hospital in Lower Hutt on July 17, the strategy was developed by the DHB’s Māori health director Kerry Dougall.

“To put the goal in context, the average life expectancy for Māori men and women in the wider Wellington region is about seven years less than non-Māori respectively,” said Kerry

She wants to lift Māori health outcomes by working in close partnership with Māori communities and encouraging more Māori to take part in the health system.

“It’s also about protecting Māori cultural values. A key focus is on empowering Māori, and creating awareness of the challenges to health equity brought by institutional racism and the effects of colonisation.

“That’s one of our point of difference as a DHB. We haven’t said reduce. We’ve said eliminate inequity in nine years.”

Te Pae Amorangi has five focus areas, starting with dramatically increasing the number of Māori working at the health board.

About six per cent of staff are Māori – counting both full-time and part-time roles – while the Māori population of the Hutt Valley is 17 per cent.

“We want Māori to feel part of our DHB, in everything that we do, that they see themselves reflected through our services in a positive way.”

It’s important to have a health workforce that represents the community it’s serving, Kerry said.

Māori in the Hutt Valley make considerable contributions to the health sector. Māori organisations often lead the way in whanau-centred innovative approaches, Iwi contribute resources to support health providers and Māori professionals are critical to our health system’s success.

“We need everybody to be responsible for implementing this strategy. This is about the whole of the system, the whole community.

“We need positive disruption, we need to change the picture of what’s happening here and now.”

The other focus areas include organisational development, commissioning, mental health and addictions, the first 1000 days of a baby’s life.

Joint Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHB chief executive Fionnagh Dougan described the strategy launch as a “defining moment”.

“It speaks volumes about how you are all passionate about standing for something really important, and having a plan to get there,” Fionnagh said. “I’m hearing your challenge to me as well: It’s the doing that needs to matter. For me that is only possible through collaboration I am quite an action-oriented individual, but I recognise the strength of anything that I do is through partnership.”

A PDF version of Te Pae Amorangi is here.

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  1. Jane C, 23. July 2019, 7:54

    That was also the old CCDHB target for quite a while. The merging of the two DHBs brings out stale recycled old ideas, instead of addressing the problems with their lack of services and shortages in specialist referrals, care, treatments , mental health etc.

  2. Douglas C, 23. July 2019, 15:03

    Equity for all means all, not just one group. The DHB can’t change a person’s socioeconomic status or change environmental factors effecting life expectancy like the quality of housing. The DHB can’t stop car accidents.
    What plays a major role in life expectancy or “lifestyle” health is early (re)education (Ministry of Education), preventative and primary care (GP not DHB urgent care) to inform people about diet, advice to quit smoking and stop drinking. Gps need to start looking at patients’ diet and exercise.
    It’s the person’s job to quit unhealthy habits. It’s the job of GPs (primary care) to refer suspected cases of lung cancer and heart disease to specialists, yet due to DHB failures we don’t have enough and the wait list is too long for all.