Twas the week before Christmas

This is my last blog for 2016 and in the run up to Christmas, I’d like to thank you for your commitment and hard work this year.

Year after year, we strive to be one of the best performing DHB’s in the country, and 2016 is up there with the best. This was shown in our health targets, our collaborative campaigns and quality improvement initiatives, and the continued efforts of our staff who work on the frontline each and every day. While we have a lot to be proud of, we also know there is more to do if we are to achieve our goal of health equity.

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Supporting a social investment approach

This week the Minister for State Services announced a newly established South Auckland Social Investment Board to improve the livelihoods of our most vulnerable children. South Auckland is a young, diverse and growing community, however within that community, are families finding it hard to make ends meet and at risk children, facing abuse and neglect. In response the South Auckland Social Investment Board (SIB), which includes social, health, justice and community agencies will work together to improve outcomes – firstly focusing on 1500 at-risk children and their families living in Mangere.

I am very pleased to be a member of this Board on behalf of Counties Manukau Health. We are also playing an important role in hosting the Programme Office for the Board led by Margie Apa, and the cross-agency team that has been pulled together. By working collectively our most vulnerable children can grow up to be healthy, happy and productive adults.

I’m joined by Sandra Alofivae, lawyer, community leader and SIB Independent Chair to tell us more.

I was raised on the ideal that family is the cornerstone of our society and that family should look after and care for one another. Growing up my maternal grandparents were the undisputed centre of my family, which comprised of seven grown-up children and 23 grandchildren.   Needless to say home was vibrant, busy and, by sheer necessity, regulated.

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Giving kids a ‘fair go’

In a previous blog, I spoke about Dr Lance O’Sullivan, who is working in the health equity area.  Helping to support that work is an exciting project called Kootuitui ki Papakura, which is tackling the issue of equity head on by helping the children of Papakura to have the same opportunities as other children in New Zealand.

Developed in conjunction with Kidz First Children’s Hospital, Kootuitui ki Papakura brings together primary schools, an intermediate school, Papakura High School and corporate organisations – most notably Westpac, the community itself, community trusts, teachers, health care staff, and many more.

Addressing three areas – health, homes and education, the programme has seen a massive commitment from many people.

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Health equity matters

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. Through our ‘Healthy Together’ strategy CM Health is committed to narrowing the health and poverty gap and in doing so move a step closer in our quest for health equity.

Joining me today is Kaitaia GP and former New Zealander of the year Dr Lance O’Sullivan. Lance is well known for his campaigning for equity in healthcare and health outcomes and recently joined Ko Awatea as a senior clinical fellow. Lance talks about his vision for health equity in Counties Manukau.

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