Flavell: holistic approach key Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Source: Hawkes Bay Today

While Maori health issues make grim reading in Hawke's Bay, Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says there needs to be a different approach to helping turn it around.

Hawke's Bay DHB released the findings of a Health Inequity study recently, with numbers revealing harsh truths and inequalities.

It reported Maori children had twice the number of hospital admissions for medical conditions than European children and 30 per cent of young Maori were not in education, employment or training compared with 9.4 per cent of Europeans.

Hazardous drinking rates amongst Maori men sat at 59 per cent, the national rate was 15 per cent or 24 per cent for the region as a whole.

Hawke's Bay also has the fifth poorest child population of 20 DHBs in New Zealand - with half of children born into deprivation deciles 9 and 10.

Mr Flavell, the Minister of Maori Development and Whanau Ora, was in the region to touch base with Maori health organisations and businesses.

"If I reflect only on the discussions that I've heard at the various hui, I think that there are a lot of good initiatives that are happening. That is the first point and a number of providers are doing the very best that they can.

"The second point I've heard is that it is not co-ordinated in a way and the third point is that I need to suggest that a number of ministries that have a responsibility in key areas are very much in the throws of patch protection."

Mr Flavell said he would like to see Whanau Ora play a key role in helping those organisations to bring down those statistics.

Whanau Ora is a key cross-government work programme jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health, Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Social Development.

It is an approach that places families at the centre of service delivery, requiring the integration of health, education and social services and is improving outcomes and results for New Zealand families.

"We've recognised that Whanau Ora is an approach that needs to be adopted for Maori families, because it works.

"I've had the opportunity to listen to families at the hard edge of their circumstance and have hugely benefited by the approach taken by Whanau Ora, which is getting away from this silo approach from various ministries to deal with these issues," Mr Flavell said.

"When you start looking at those figures, if you start looking at a mother that has to deal with drug issues that's not just about her issue.

"That's a whanau issue because it affects the tamariki, the mokopuna, the partner and so on."

He said a lot of the issues facing Maori were "inter-generational".

"We need to change the approach to be generational as opposed to just the one person, for the one time at the one place."