11 Jul 2012

Health literacy urged for Maori

6:35 am on 11 July 2012

Maori health advocates are pushing a national strategy to teach more Maori about health issues - especially their understanding of diseases such as diabetes - says director of Te Rau Matatini (the National Maori Health Workforce Development Organisation) Nicola Ehau.

A recent study by Otago University shows that Maori are more likely than Pakeha to put off going to the doctor and pick up their prescriptions, because of the cost.

Ms Ehau says that in addition some Maori lack understanding their own health needs.

She says many people in New Zealand - particularly Maori - have poor health literacy.

One of the programmes Te Rau Matatini runs is about increasing the opportunity for Maori to have better health literacy, so they can "own" their knowledge and understand what's most appropriate for them, she says.