Award for research into Hawke’s Bay health inequities

A research partnership between Te Tātai Hauora o Hine—The Centre for Women’s Health Research and the Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust has been recognised in the Hawke’s Bay Health Awards 2019.

The project, He Korowai Manaaki, received an award for excellence in the use of knowledge to deliver innovative solutions at a ceremony in Napier last week.

He Korowai Manaaki is a community-led maternity care pathway for pregnant women. The project is delivered in collaboration with Ngāti Pāhauwera and aims to address health inequities experienced by Māori women and babies in the rural region of Te Wairoa.

The project integrates maternal and child clinical services into one care pathway, using a comprehensive wraparound approach to pregnancy. This approach revolves around the woman, her whānau, and the services and support they want to access.

Participants in the project can identify and gain access to a range of health and social services via their primary or maternity health provider. A woman who identifies a need for oral health care, for example, is supported by their health care provider to access a local dentist. This extends to a range of support such as free medical care, transport to pregnancy-related appointments, and access to driver licensing.

Toro Waaka, Chairman of the Ngāti Pāhauwera Development Trust, says that this approach is particularly important in rural areas like Te Wairoa; statistics show that the median income for Māori in the Te Wairoa District is less $20,000 per year.

“Many people who live in rural areas like Te Wairoa don’t have money for petrol to make it to the doctor, let alone access health care services,” he says.

The project began in November 2018 and is still underway. Ngāti Pāhauwera and Te Tātai Hauora o Hine have been invited to share the project with government ministers, other Iwi, District Health Boards, and Primary Health Organisations. The partnership with Ngāti Pāhauwera has also enabled the development of a larger clinical trial of He Korowai Manaaki in Hawke’s Bay.

Matthew Bennett, local kaumātua and community advisor, says that the joint project demonstrates how robust research can inform health services delivery directly and at the point of need.

“Combining our strengths leads to the breakthroughs that will enable better outcomes for our whānau and their babies,” he says.

Professor Bev Lawton, Director of Te Tātai Hauora o Hine, says that the award reflects the strengths of the community.

“There is positive momentum with community, GPs and midwives working together to meet the needs of whānau. We are very excited about this model and it is a privilege to be part of this positive change,” she says.

The Hawke’s Bay Health Awards recognise the great work from a wide range of organisations, passionate community groups and clinicians, who work within, or contribute in some way, toward a healthier Hawke’s Bay.