Today I’m joined by Mataroria Lyndon, an aspiring young Maaori doctor who is passionate about taking on the challenges of our health system, making it a better place for our tamariki and our most vulnerable populations. Mataroria shares some key insights into how we can narrow the health and poverty gap, and in doing so move a step closer in our quest for health equity.
Growing up, I wanted to make a difference for people living in South Auckland and Northland – my communities. I have seen Maaori and Pacific children suffering from heart failure, because of rheumatic fever. I have seen my elders pass away from chronic disease, well before their time. That’s why when I heard we had chosen ‘valuing everyone’ as an organisational value, I thought about valuing equity.
To me, equity is about fairness – about having the same opportunities to the best start in life, to be educated, and to be healthy. And yet there are currently 200,000 tamariki across Aotearoa growing up in poverty. This growing disparity isn’t new and countries around the world are trying to grapple with the inequities that exist in health. It is one obvious barometer about how a country looks after its old and its sick.
So health equity and ‘valuing everyone’ needs to be more at the forefront of what we do. For CM Health this includes the need to grow our own workforce to better reflect South Auckland whaanau. That’s why we need to continue to invest in our Health Science Academies – to grow our future leaders. All students from these Academies are guaranteed a job at CM Health when they graduate. This has huge benefits for health literacy, a steady income and positive role modelling for future generations. It’s these avenues that can close the health and poverty gap.
I went to school at Tangaroa College, one of the Health Science Academies. My classmates at Tangaroa College suffered from inequity, but their parents were united in one thing – they wanted the best health and education for their family. We are some way off this yet, but we are getting there. There is no magic wand. The reality is that these are among the challenges people who work at CM Health tackle everyday. And, this is what we are committed to.
Our CM Health goal is to achieve health equity for our community. There is a Maaori whakatauki (proverb) that embodies this challenge – “Ko tou rourou, ko toku rourou ka ora ai te iwi.” If we ask ourselves – how can we achieve health equity and how can we ‘value everyone, we will all contribute to this goal. And there, in our quest for health equity, we can continue to narrow the health gaps.
Mataroria and Geraint
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