Inspiring our Pacific communities & future of Pacific health
We are a Pacific-Led organisation and our values and ways of working are drawn from our organisational history/ whakapapa, as well as the customs and cultural practices of the diverse Pacific ethnic groups we represent. We place an emphasis on improving health equity and well-being for Pacific populations while being inclusive of people from all cultures and backgrounds, particularly high needs communities.
We have a dedicated Pacific Integration Development Strategy (PIDS) team. The PIDS team is the fundamental link between health initiatives and the Pacific communities. The team are active in raising awareness and encouraging the improvement of health outcomes for Pacific communities through holding interactive religious and family based events.
Healthy Village Actions Zones (HVAZ) was established in 2006 as a Pacific church based programme led by a team at the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB). HVAZ is an innovative framework for collaborative action by key stakeholders and Pacific communities working in partnership to improve health outcomes for Pacific peoples.
HVAZ is a significant partnership programme between the ADHB,
and PHO and Pacific church communities in the Auckland District.
HVAZ brings together 42 Pacific churches from across seven zones
covering Avondale, Mt Roskill, Mt Albert, Grey Lynn Ponsonby,
Otahuhu, Onehunga, Glen Innes and Panmure. These areas have been
selected due to the high numbers of Pacific people and strong
networks of Pacific churches within these geographical areas.
The HVAZ Vision is a model of self-determination and community –led development that aims to support Pacific communities to develop their own solutions to their health priorities. HVAZ recognises the strengths and the passion of Pacific church communities and seeks to provide a framework that will enable better access to quality primary health care services and health promotion activities.
Rheumatic Fever is a real problem affecting many Pacific families.
Pacific children and young people are 44 times more likely than
non-Pacific children and young people to be admitted to hospital
with acute rheumatic fever. Although the national RhF rate
significantly reduced by 45% since 2012, the reduction of first
episode admission for our Pacific population of 27% is way below
that of Maori which has reduced 54%.
Rheumatic fever is linked to poor housing conditions,
overcrowding, and lack of treatment of strep throat caused by the
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) throat infection.
This issue highlights the need to have programmes such as the Pacific Engagement Strategy, which looks at targeting Pasifika in methods that resonate and have a meanignful impact. Funded by the Ministry of Health, the objective of the service is to engage with Pacific people in the Metro Auckland area (Auckland DHB, Counties Manukau DHB and Waitemata DHB) about rheumatic fever and sore throat management.
The Mama’s House initiative was developed by Alliance Health Plus as an innovative approach to engaging the Pasifika community. It’s knowing that mothers, sisters and aunties are the first port of call about all matters relating to family health and well-being - Mamas know best!
Alliance Health Plus is the contract holder for a collective of eight Pacific providers who deliver the Pacific Engagement Strategy (PES) under the Rheumatic Fever prevention programme. Mama’s House have hosted a list of innovative events to promote and create awareness on Rheumatic Fever.
The future of Pacific Health
Our challenge is around how we begin reducing this inequity through interventions we make in the community – particularly in relation to areas such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, nutrition and child health.
Our role is to inspire health transformation by engaging with communities and through the use of health based technologies such as patient portals on smartphones and the use of apps.
We recognise that we have a significant challenge in order to reduce the inequalities facing our Pacific communities, but we are more than prepared for our future.
We have two main objectives regarding the future of Pacific health:
1) To reduce the health inequities facing Pacific people, and
2) To outline how we are making a difference.
Currently, the life expectancy for a European male in New Zealand is 87 years old, however, for a Pasifika male, their age expectancy is only 75 years old – a significant difference of 9 years.