7 Aug 2014

Training for Bay of Plenty pharmacists

11:19 am on 7 August 2014

Pharmac is set to train pharmacists in two Bay of Plenty rohe to communicate more effectively when providing Maori with medicine.

Nga Matapuna Oranga Whanau Ora Collective, based in Tauranga, and Te Ao Marama Whanau Ora Collective Trust in Opotiki will sign agreements with Pharmac next week with one of its main aims being to provide education for Maori on how to take medicines.

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Photo: afp

The Government agency's kaiwhakahaere, Maori Responsiveness, said its Te Whaioranga strategy is not just about educating Maori, but pharmacists as well.

Atene Andrews said Pharmac has to admit a lot of pharmacists are not Maori.

Mr Andrews said Pharmac programmes such as He Rongoa Pai are designed to deliver better information about Maori to the pharmaceutical profession.

He said examples include how to receive Maori or understand their body language.

The managing director of Nga Matapuna Oranga said it's a good opportunity to provide non-Maori with cultural competency for when they communicate with Maori.

Janice Kuka said the feedback from Maori, especially those in rural areas, is that after the doctor the pharmacist has the biggest influence on them in terms of educating them about their medication.

Ms Kuka said pharmacists are a key factor in helping improve the health literacy of Maori.

The chairperson of Te Ao Marama Whanau Ora Collective Trust said the two pharmacists in Opotiki are very good, but in general there can be a limited understanding of Maori needs.

Linda Steel said pharmacists may not have the connection that someone with a more appropriate background to Maori has, so educating them is an integral part of the agreement reached with Pharmac.