Te Puna Oranga is actively campaigning on a wide number of initiatives to promote Tupeka Kore (tobacco cessation).
Initiatives to date include the training of over 100 quit coaches within the Waikato DHB region. This training has been specifically targeted at Māori staff employed within a variety of disciplines.
“Smoking is the single largest contributor to death and illness amongst Māori, the issue is not only a health issue, but a social, cultural, spiritual and economic development issue,” said General Manager: Māori Health Ditre Tamatea.
“Poor health and premature death through smoking is hindering Māori development. Urupa (cemeteries) are full of people who have died because of smoking related diseases.”
Te Puna Oranga has developed a Tupeka Kore plan in conjunction with Iwi Māori Council and kaumātua kaunihera. The plan’s implementation has been supported by the role out of 1500 pepipods and the intended launch of wahakura wānanga.
Both projects hold strong smokefree and smoking cessation messages alongside breastfeeding and safe sleeping in an attempt to reduce the Māori sudden unexplained death in an infant rate (SUDI) as Māori accounted for 80 per cent of all SUDI rates.
“This training has not only seen the training of 100 Quit Coaches but also seen 20 rangatahi from Ngā Taiatea Wharekura and Ngaruawahia High School trained as Tupeka Kore champions which is inspiring and possibly the first in the country,” said Māori Workforce Development Coordinator for Te Puna Oranga Natania Katene.
Year 12 student at Ngā Taiatea Wharekura Roiana Pihama said, “our goal from this training is to lobby to our board, principal and staff to become the first tupeka kore kura in Waikato and possibly Aotearoa.”
Ms Katene has organised quit coach training for 30-31 May to coincide with World Smokefree Day.
“While smoking rates amongst Māori remain high what is encouraging is that smoking rates for Māori are on the decline. This is particularly evident in regards to our rangatahi many of whom are not taking up the smoking habit,” said Mr Tamatea.
Shane Kawenata Bradbrook long time advocate against the tobacco industry who spoke at the quit coach training sessions says, “we want to see our people living on the whenua rather than under it.”
Mr Bradbrook acknowledged the work that Te Puna Oranga was doing in the Waikato to reduce Māori smoking rates and promote tupeka kore.
The smokefree and smoking cessation messages are also being promoted to whānau through the hapū wānanga programme which is an antenatal training programme targeted at Māori whānau.
The hapū wānanga will cover a wide range of issues from traditional birthing practises, immunisation, breastfeeding, budgeting, family relationships, smoking cessation and smokefree.
The programme occurs in localities which are responsive to Māori such as marae and involve the entire whānau rather than just mum and partner. Tikanga Māori is a key component to the initiative.
Mr Tamatea has become the co-champion for the Waikato DHB smoking cessation target, alongside director of nursing Sue Hayward.
An initiative called ‘hati hauora’ has been initiated in which Te Puna Oranga will be working with other DHB service areas and the wider sector to lift performance around national indicators.
As part of this new focus Te Puna Oranga chronic conditions advisor Nina Scott has been working alongside Smokefree nurse coorindator Kate Dallas, to promote doctors taking a greater role in supporting smoking cessation with patients and whānau.
Te Puna Oranga frontline staff have all been trained as quit coaches and will be promoting smoking cessation across their various service areas.
“Our vision is for services, wharekura, organisations and marae to move beyond smokefree to becoming tupeka kore which is entirely tobacco free. The way forward is to uphold such an approach through our own tikanga,” said Mr Tamatea.
The Māori Health Service has a strong focus at present on young whānau this is an approach is supported through project aroha which seeks to target immunisation, breastfeeding, smokefree whānau, violence free and SUDI.
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