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Tags: Cancer

E7 Salient Māori News Items to 12 March 2021

 

  • Racism appears as a feature in the news this week. Setting aside major headlines around the Royal Family, there is also a minor article about a urologist at the national conference saying, in a panel presentation, that because ‘many Māori men are in prison’ there should not be a problem with reluctance to digital rectal examinations by Māori males to screen for prostate cancer, “as there is so much rectal probing, so ‘they’ could do their own examinations”. So, not just an example of overt racism and homophobia, but another example of direct prejudice within health service delivery.  The unnamed urologist has now apologised.
  • Associate Health Minister, Peeni Henare, has announced that $39 million is being put towards a targeted Māori COVID-19 vaccination strategy, including circa $25 million for Māori health providers to deliver services. The vaccine framework would provide for 40,000 courses of the vaccine to be given to Māori and Pacific older people – and the family members they live with (noting that many older people live with whānau rather than in retirement villages).   Minister Henare’s view is “this whānau-centred approach means that an entire whānau can be vaccinated all together and will help to keep our people safe.”  This service is said to be scheduled within the second stage of the vaccination rollout.
  • (As noted above) in December the Ministry of Health reissued its COVID resilience plan, called Kia Kaha, Kia Māia, Kia Ora Aotearoa – Psychosocial and Mental Wellbeing Plan (Refer Pānui 11/2020 refers). Despite the name the work does not have a significant Māori focus, rather it’s mostly just a list of actions within existing work programmes in central agencies which are centred on wellbeing.  So useful for a person, like a Cabinet Minister perhaps, who wants to get a handle of what programmes exist where.  In regards to Māori content, page 8 is the main reference, which states that upholding Te Tiriti is a core service principle.  Then there is reference to the Ministry’s new Te Tiriti framework (Pānui 29/2020 refers), and a reiteration of how Te Tiriti principles can be demonstrated during the COVID crisis via (i) better support for Māori organisations responding to COVID, (ii) enabling Māori to utilise mātauranga Māori approaches, (iii) adopting holistic welling approaches, and (iv) monitoring services to ensure good outcomes for Māori communities.   All up a light touch report which could mean a whole lot or next to nothing in terms of improving Māori mental health outcomes.
  • Te Aho o Te Kahu / the Cancer Control Agency has released its first report on ‘the State of Cancer in New Zealand’. In regards to Māori its findings are similar to the Ministry of Health.  Namely that “the most commonly diagnosed cancers among Māori are breast, lung, prostate and colorectal cancers.”   They also find that “the cancers that disproportionately affect Māori tend both to be highly preventable and to have poor prognoses”.   Cancers are said to reflect disproportionately high rates of tobacco exposure, chronic infections, factors associated with obesity, alcohol use and occupational exposures.   Linkages to socio-economic deprivation (poor nutrition, overcrowding, etc) are also made to provide a wider context than a simple focus on individual risk factors.

https://teaho.govt.nz/static/reports/state-of-cancer-in-new-zealand-2020.pdf

  • The Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee has published their 14th annual review report. They found babies of Māori, Pacific and Indian mothers aged less than 20 years were still more likely than babies of NZ European mothers to die in pregnancy, or within the first 28 days.  Overall, for the ten-year period to 2018, they found 31% of premature baby deaths were Māori. The recommend Health Boards work more closely with women in communities to reduce mortality rates.

report-pmmrc-14th.pdf (hqsc.govt.nz)