Parishes Partnering with Auckland District Health Board
for Improved Pacific Health. Video Fono 2
Nurses and health assessments
The ADHB Pacific Action Plan was launched two years ago. Health projects start with nurses and once the prgramme is established the nurse can focus on clinical side and then community health workers have vital role of relationship building. Health promotion and health education are an important step to people taking ownership of health issues. Community nurses have a very important clinical role, providing a link and referral point to doctors as well as bringing health education with pro-active programmes for health.
Community Health Nurse Mesepa Channing (right) reinforced the vital role of relationship building : ‘one of the main things to learn is to communicate with people with no boundaries at all’. Mesepa said that the needs of immigrants is uppermost: ‘the greatest need for, and barrier to accessing community nurse services is immigrants’. The areas where she provides most assistance are with immigration papers and support for access to benefits, which includes an advocacy role.
Nurses and community health workers are supported by the DHB to do assessments of health needs in communities. From these assessments health committees develop action plans for the church and set priorities, such as for the elderly, or for young people, according to the information from the assessments. As needs are identified they may link with Work and Income and Housing New Zealand.
Healthy Village Action Zones
Hilda Fa'asalele gave details on the implementation of the Healthy Village Action Zones in 2008, which prioritized a leadership programme, with fantastic involvement from three PHO’s. With support from ministers it was possible to build the capacity of churches and empower churches to implement their own health promoting programmes.
Parish action plans include skills in solving conflicts, skills of communication and responsibility for monitoring, evaluation, and managing finances. Developing the skills to access ‘the same information as mainstream groups’ means meeting the challenge of teaching and equipping communities to use computers and technology to get information. Health awards, healthy food policies, and nutrition courses are examples of positive strategies for health.
There are 42 churches involved in Healthy Village Action Zones and include a range of denominations: Congregational, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic and each has a structure which corresponds with the church systems. The Health village Action staff team is made up of five parish community nurses, community health workers and a nutritionist.
One of the people who attended the fono and who spoke to me about their parish work was Jenny Tapu (right), a school teacher. Jenny is involved with the Malaiola Centre violence prevention programme. Twenty five Catholic parishes have joined together to prevent violence in families. Jenny spoke of the work as involving different groupings – sometimes with families as a whole, and with women, men and youth separately.
With the involvement of the parish priest spirituality is part of the process and this brings calm and healing. ‘On the last night all of the families come together and do healing with a candle – this enables communication between parents and children, and this is also healing’. Jenny added ‘culturally violence was not prevalent in Samoan society – it came with the missionaries’.
Father Michael Endeman (left) is a priest at Christ the King Owairaka. He was a missionary in Jamaica and came to New Zealand in 2005. He asks ‘What can I do as a leader in the parish not only for the parish, but for the wider community? We have Tongan, Samoan, Indian, Fijian, Malaysian, Philippines all in one community’.
He is trying to deliver a message that ‘we are in a different culture and country. Let’s try and adapt to this culture, and cut down expenses that cause suffering. Children will have to pay for the loans of their parents. The generosity of Samoan people can become a financial burden in New Zealand’. Some of the changes he is making are to encourage families not to incur big expenses for funerals that might be met with loans, and to support this the parish provides a cup of tea and meal at a funeral. He is also offering to bless marriages with no requirement for payment.
Through the Healthy Village Action Committee he is supporting people to take care of their health through combining spirituality with physical and social activity and this may extend to helping with food, clothes and household needs. If housing is an issue he will contact Housing New Zealand and support applications for housing.
Health Board Responses and Responsibilities
Pat Sneddon, Chair of the ADHB spoke of the need to listen to Pacific communities and tune what the Health Board does to meet the aspirations of these communities. He gave recognition of responsibility taken by church communities.
“I want to commit our institution to be in service to the agendas you raise today. Not to be the shaper of those agendas, but to be in service. All the functions and systems of this large institution count for nothing unless they are humbly put at your service. We offer manakitanga and we pledge ourselves in service of this population. The Pacific Heath Advisory committee is a powerhouse of knowledge.“
The final word from Chief Executive Garry Smith was to affirm that Strategic Plans will take account of the priorities brought to the Board through the healthy Village Action Committees.
Revd. Alfred Ngaro < email@example.com>
Follow this link for visual information on the development of health village action zones. http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/Files/fono-2009/$file/aseta-redican.pdf
For information on parish initiatives visited for the NZCCSS Manaaki Hapori project, contact:
Phone: 04 473 2627 / 021-388-337