Harti Hauora provides more support for Māori community in Southland

Helping tamariki Māori avoid hospital admissions for respiratory infections by supporting the health of their whānau is the aim of a new collaborative healthcare service at Southland Hospital.

Harti Hauora is a Kaupapa Māori centred programme improving connections with health care and other family support service.

Awarua Whānau Services, WellSouth Primary Health Network and Southern DHB have worked together to introduce the programme for Māori whose tamariki are admitted to hospital with respiratory infections.

When tamariki are admitted to Southland Hospital with respiratory infections, a dedicated kaiāwhina from Awarua Whānau Services will visit tamariki and their whānau at the children’s ward, assess what services they currently access and help them get any other health care or community-based support they need. This may mean enrolling with a general practice, accessing oral health services, registering for B4 School Check, catching up on immunisations, and connecting with WellChild/Tamariki Ora or early childhood education services.

The kaiāwhina can also help the whānau to access other programmes that improve overall health and wellbeing, including healthy home programmes and smoking cessation services - even providing pēpi pods or car seats, if required.

While hospital admissions for respiratory infections are lower across Aotearoa this year due to the COVID-19 lockdown, previous years have seen 60 or more tamariki Māori under five with repeat admissions to Southland Hospital.

“These numbers are unacceptably high numbers and in many cases the admissions are preventable,” says Gilbert Taurua, Southern DHB Chief Māori Health Strategy and Improvement Officer. “Our Māori populations are not accessing care at the same levels that others in the community are and Harti Hauora is an important step forward in helping us to address health inequity and improving access to care – particularly preventative care – for Māori.”

Deli Diack, Awarua Whānau Services Mama and Pepi/Mokopuna Ora Kaiarahi and the new Harti Hauora kaiāwhina, says she is looking forward to further serving whānau in the community through this new and important Kaupapa.

“It is not just about the access to services but working with the whānau in a culturally-appropriate and respectful manner. We prioritised the relationship, to foster better and hopefully lasting connections to health care,” she says.

This is an innovative approach to delivering care, with potential for benefits across the whole system, says Nancy Todd, Associate Māori Health Officer, for Secondary/Tertiary.

 

“Harti Hauora supports the health, well-being and social needs for tamariki and their whānau in hospital, with whānau being at the centre of decision making and how resources are allocated.

 

“Deli will engage with whānau in a culturally safe manner and bring tikanga and Te Reo Māori into the hospital environment.”

WellSouth Associate Māori Health Officer Peter Ellison says general practices and community-based providers have a vital role in the Harti Hauora programme, ensuring Māori have ongoing access to appropriate care.

“Engaging or re-engaging with general practice or a Māori health provider is the foundation for whānau ora. Harti Hauora is not a fix but part of a journey. Enrolling with a GP and making primary care a first point of contact is really important for ensuring ongoing good health, helping people have access to the care they need and funded services throughout childhood, adolescents and throughout their lifetime.”  

Launched in Southern this week, the Harti Hauora programme originated in Waikato DHB area.