Radical change needed to address health inequity
It’s going to take time and strong leadership to overcome what the health minister calls the ‘postcode lottery’. Laura Walters reports on Aotearoa’s health inequity problem.
Māori health is not just a Māori problem, IronMāori founder Heather Te Au Skipworth says.
Speaking at the opening of the Ministry of Health annual forum in Wellington on Tuesday, the mother-of-three (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Ngāi Tahu) shared her experience of learning to address health challenges in a different way – one with a kaupapa of whānau, wellbeing, and inclusivity.
Skipworth’s first client as a lifestyle coach was a 180kg man.
Calling him obese and forcing him to be weighed and measured – as was required in her contract – was “invasive” and “convicting”, she said.
Instead, she learned to leverage her ability to build relationships and empathise with what she called her “fuller figure clients”.
Skipworth has again been voted onto Hawke’s Bay DHB, where she plans to focus on the devolution of services, and enhancing and growing kaupapa Māori services which are preventative and educational.
The siloed, one-size-fits-all approach was not going to address the the issue of poor health outcomes for Māori, she told the conference of health care sector representatives.
Amid the ongoing discussion of health equity, she said it was important to remember : “Because Māori are given more, it doesn’t mean that others get less; it doesn’t mean that anybody misses out.”