17 Apr 2020

Māori health workers target greater Covid-19 testing in Auckland and Northland

7:52 am on 17 April 2020

One-hundred-and-twenty Māori community health workers will be deployed in Auckland and further North in an effort to ramp up testing and support for whānau.

An employee wearing protective clothing does testings for the coronavirus at a laboratory as the spread of the disease continues, in Arkhangelsk, Russia.

Kaimanaaki will refer people to relevant services, or offer health guidance and information. Photo: AFP

A partnership between Northern Region DHBs and Māori health providers including Te Whānau O Waipareira, Te Whare Tiaki Trust, Ōrākei Health and Ngāti Hine Health Trust has made the roll-out possible.

The new Kaimanaaki service will be made up of community leaders and health workers who will undertake wellbeing assessments and questionnaires with whānau to determine what support they need.

Kaimanaaki will then refer people to relevant services, or offer health guidance and information.

The first 60 full-time kaimanaaki are expected to begin by next week.

Waitematā DHB CEO and Northern Region lead for emergency planning, Dr Dale Bramley, said the goal was to ensure whānau were safe and protected in their homes and communities.

"Our Māori communities contain many people we know will be particularly vulnerable to Covid-19," he said.

"Through our Nga Kaimanaaki service, we are working closely with iwi, hapu, and Māori providers in the health and social sectors to understand the needs of their whānau and to then to be able to respond to those needs.

"We would like to recognise the huge amount of work that has already been undertaken by local iwi and Māori providers.

The Nga Kaimanaaki service will help ensure we support them the best way we can in the weeks ahead."

Northern Region Health Coordination Centre Māori Health lead, Aroha Haggie, said kaimanaaki was exactly what Māori in her community wanted.

"Our decision to engage kaimanaaki is based on feedback about what will work best and recognises that the Covid-19 pandemic will have a dramatic impact on whānau.

This approach will support and enable whānau through and post the pandemic by identifying and taking care of immediate health, social and household need."

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

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