Equity is about fairness – having the same opportunities to the best start in life

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.

Dr Lyndon
Dr Lyndon

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.

“Ko tou rourou, ko toku rourou ka ora ai te iwi” “With your contribution and my contribution there lies well-being for the people”.

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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Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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