14 Jul 2012

'Health juice' sales by churches worries social worker

6:15 am on 14 July 2012

A Christchurch social worker is concerned some local churches may be selling a juice to Pacific Island families, telling them to take it for health problems instead of medicine.

To'alepai Thomsen-Inder says some churchgoers are reporting the product is being offered in church services for between $30 and 60.

She has been told it may involve ingredients from a chemist mixed according to a secret recipe.

Ms Thomsen-Inder says many Pacific Island families in Christchurch are already dealing with sickness and overcrowding and she is concerned that churches may be offering this product to an already vulnerable group.

She says church officials should not use their role to sell products and it goes against efforts of social and health workers to improve the families' wellbeing.

The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs says other health drinks have been sold in the community in the past but it is not aware of any current promotions by the churches.

Southern regional manager Amanaki Misa says his ministry encourages people to talk to their GP and advises them not to substitute other things for medication prescribed by health professionals.

Mr Misa says he will refer the matter to the Ministry of Health.