Tūranga Health in partnership with Hauora Tairāwhiti, Te Runanga o Tūranganui A Kiwa, Toitū Tairāwhiti and Trust Tairāwhiti are set to launch a Drive Through Vaccination Centre.
The drive through will open to the community Wednesday 1 September and will assist parents of young children, elderly and those with medical dependencies to receive their vaccinations.
The drive through will operate from Harry Barker Reserve using the main entrance located on Gladstone Road. The centre is open 10am-4pm and run for at least seven days or until Alert Level 2 has been achieved.
Tūranga Health CEO Reweti Ropiha said “we are excited to have been able to pull this operation together over the past fourdays. My staff have put in the hard yards to be able to drive this kaupapa, to turn this site on and provide for our community.”
Whānau must be ready for their journey through the vaccination site. It is important to note that entry is from Gladstone Road only, make sure you use the toilet before you come, bring your whānau and your masks with you, ensure that the kids have snacks and games to keep them entertained for the whole time including the 15 minute observation period after vaccination. Please stay in your vehicle at all times, and ensure you wear appropriate clothing so we can access your upper arm easily.
We will accept cars or 8-seater people movers only. No motorbikes or people on foot. No appointment required – just drive in.
The centre is organised into three separate zones. Zone 1: drivers stop to get registered. Zone 2: get the vaccine administered. Zone 3: wait and be observed for 15 minutes before leaving.
If people are feeling unwell during their observation period, they should toot their car horn and turn on their hazard lights.
The drive through centre requires 40 staff per day. An instructional video has been produced to give users insight to the operation – visit the Hauora Tairāwhiti Facebook Page.
Turanga Health Covid-19 nurses and kaiawhina (assistants) noticed a surge in people wanting to be vaccinated yesterday afternoon just hours before the country went into a snap lockdown.
Local iwi health providers Turanga Health and Ngati Porou Hauora, supported by Hauora Tairawhiti and Toitu Tairawhiti Collective, joined forces this week to open whanau vaccination centres around the region.
Appointments were not necessary in the walk-in clinics that were set up in rural areas such as Whatatutu and city venues at Gisborne Hospital, the Palmerston Road Community Vaccination Clinic, Kaiti and Elgin.
Turanga Health chief executive Reweti Ropiha said there was a surge of people wanting to be vaccinated at the Cobham School vaccination centre in Elgin yesterday afternoon.
“It's possible that yesterday afternoon's Ministry of Health announcement that a community case of Covid-19 had been identified was an incentive,” Mr Ropiha said.
Sixteen people were vaccinated at Cobham School on Monday. That rose to 47 between 4pm and 7pm on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister's Alert Level 4 announcement was made just after 6pm.
Covid-19 vaccinations are on hold today and tomorrow with the situation under constant reassessment.
“There is a high level of reaction but the good thing is we have plenty of learnings from the previous lockdowns,” Mr Ropiha said.
“However, after this lockdown, there is a very high chance that we will see greater demand for the vaccine.”
Turanga Health is considered an essential service during the lockdown.
Face-to-face consultations are being kept to a minimum, with video and audio consultations available where required.
The Vanessa Lowndes Centre for people with mental, physical or intellectual disabilities is closed for the next three days.
During the lockdown, Turanga Health has suspended its other health and wellbeing programmes for the week including the Eke Tu wrap-around programme for people with chronic health conditions (Te Karaka, Manutuke and Gisborne), the ki-o-rahi in schools programme and the kaumatua ukelele gathering in Elgin.
A DEEPENING friendship between a Turanga Health kaiāwhina and a Manutuke whānau is helping the oldest and most unwell member of the family to laugh again.
Anita Nepia, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Porou, is rediscovering the joys of a social life outside of her Manutuke home this year with the wraparound support of Turanga Health mental health kaiāwhina Nyoka Fox.
Anita, 64, has been living with schizophrenia for 30 years. Like many others with the disease Anita experiences some challenges caring for herself, and she hasn’t worked for a number of years. Anita has been lucky to always have the support of family and friends. She lives with sister Katy Nepia, and her nephew Terry Nepia.
But recently whānau have noticed that Anita, who is a wahine of few words, had become even quieter than normal.
“Anita was staying home, lying around,” says Terry, 27. “She was quiet and not laughing as much.”
Māori health organisation Turanga Health was already involved in Anita’s care but asked if they could do more? And that’s where mental health kaiāwhina Nyoka Fox came in.
“It wasn’t until Nyoka arrived that I started noticing a difference in her,” says Terry.
Previously, Nyoka, Rongowhakaata, was a kaiāwhina and then coordinator at the Vanessa Lowndes Centre providing day programmes for people living with mental health, physical and intellectual disabilities.
A wahine of many talents (she used to be a driver operator for Downer) Noyka has a level 4 certifcate in health and wellbeing with a strand in mental health and addiction support from EIT Tairāwhiti.
Nyoka first met Anita at her Manutuke home in March 2021. “When I first connected with Anita she was isolated. She wasn’t going out anywhere so the goal at the start was simply to create a relationship.”
Nyoka shared her own Rongowhakaata whakapapa with Anita making those vital whānau and hapu connections. Slowly, quietly spoken Anita began to trust that Nyoka was offering genuine support and help. “After that she’s really opened up more,” says Nyoka.
The pair’s friendship has strengthened over time spent together. They are in the car a lot as they travel to doctor’s appointments and the monthly Turanga Health Kaumātua Programme. They also go out for lunch if they feel like having a treat.
“She’s a lot smilier now,” says Nyoka. “A bit more talkative. She’s not as shy or holding back. There has definitely been a change. It’s about having someone to walk beside, someone who doesn’t necessarily have to be family.”
Laughter is important in the pair’s relationship. Catch them together and they’ll often be chuckling. “I think they might be laughing at me?” worries Terry. “No. No. That’s our secret,” Anita whispers, before falling into another fit of giggles.
Last month Nyoka helped Anita get her Covid-19 vaccination. And she escorted her to the Howard Morrison Quartet concert for pakeke from around the rohe.
This week Nyoka is going to teach Anita how to answer her new cellphone and enrol her into a local arts and craft programme.
Nyoka: “It’s important for Anita’s wellbeing that she’s connected to the scoial community, and to whānau.”
Despite her quiet nature, Anita’s admiration for Nyoka is unmistakable.
“We’ve got our own thing happening. Riding around. I would just like to thank Nyoka for everything she has done for me.”
Local iwi health providers Turanga Health and Ngati Porou Hauora, supported by Hauora Tairawhiti and Toitu Tairawhiti Collective, have joined forces to ensure local Maori whanau have every opportunity to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The health providers open their whanau vaccination venues on Monday.
No appointment is needed.
A whanau approach is nothing new for Maori.
“We are now taking on this approach as a method to address vaccine hesitancy,” said Turanga Health chief executive Reweti Ropiha.
The message from iwi providers is “come along with the whanau and get to sense the great vaccine experience, demystify the Covid jargon, korero with whanau in the vaccine space, put the patai (questions) to the kaimahi (staff) experts and do it all within an atmosphere of manaaki (hospitality) and awhi (support)”.
Kaniwa Kupenga-Tamarama, a Maori midwife who is five months hapu (pregnant), and is expecting her fifth baby, received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine last week.
She encourages all whanau especially hapu mama (expectant mums) to do the same.
Kaniwa and her children are the faces of the whanau approach with the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out.
To see more of Kaniwa's story and to see how to be vaccinated, visit www.Hauoratairawhiti.org.nz
WITH his wife in labour, Coxco business manager Yugal Gupta popped away from Gisborne Hospital and smoked a cigarette vowing it would be his last.
Ninety minutes later he and wife Sadaf welcomed beautiful Tianna into the world and ever since then Yugal has been true to his word.
“I’m not going to smoke anymore, it’s over for me.”
Yugal, 35, is Coxco labour solutions business manager, and he’s been smoking for six years.
An entertaining guy with a wicked turn of prhase Yugal admits the birth of his daughter led to some funny moments.
“No lie. My wife looks up to me and says ‘I’m in hospital, I’m dilating, you’re still smoking. When are you going to quit!?’”
Yugal says his nicotine addiction crept up on him. What started out as idle curiosity about the taste of a cigarette turned into an all encompassing addiction which at its worst cost Yugal $210 a week.
Luckily for Yugal, Gisborne’s Coxco Farming and Horticulture, has been part of Turanga Health’s Tū Mahi Workplace Wellness programme for seven years ensuring its hardworking staff have access to on-the-job health checks. Turanga Health quit smoking coaches are also available for Coxco staff but for Yugal, his first few attempts to quit had failed.
After Tianna was born the new dad reached back out to Turanga Health quit coach Walter Walsh and asked for help.
“I had been strong since my baby was born but I knew I would be vulnerable when I went back to work and I needed a bit of extra support.”
Walter, or Wiz as everyone knows him, is 26-years smokefree himself. He’d met Yugal before, helped him find incentives to quit, but nothing had stuck. Wiz says he could tell this time was different.
“I could see the drive was his newborn.” Wiz asked Yugal to blow into a smokerlyzer machine and it revealed that Yugal had no carbon monoxide on his breath. “That confirmed it. I could see he was smokefree and now we needed to keep it that way.”
Wiz says meeting Yugal “kanohi-ki-te-kanohi or face to face” meant the men could talk and make a plan. “I could help get him through the next few weeks.”
Wiz organised smokefree gum and lozenges to help with the nicotine withdrawl, and watched on with pride as the new dad pushed through his addiction. “I knew I was strong enough in my head to quit,” adds Yugal.
Since quitting four months ago Yugal takes takes some of the weekly money he normally spent on cigarettes and deposits it into a bank account set aside for his daugher.
“I will be able to continue putting $100 a week into her account and hopefully when she turns 18, she will have enough money for a deposit to buy herself a new house and start her new phase of life.”
Yugal says his wife reminded him just this morning that life would be different if he hadn’t quit smoking.
“She said to me ‘if you were still smoking you would be outside the house not spending time with us’ and it’s true, and that would be too hard. Did I mention Tianna is beautiful!”
Yugal says thanks to the love and support of family, and with help from Turanga Health, he will never smoke again. “It sometimes takes a couple of go’s. I recommend Turanga Health to anyone else who is ready to quit.”
Yugal on missing moments: “I went to visit my mum back in India. I love my mum. It was disrespectful that I had started smoking and I didn’t want her or the neighbours to know. To have a cigarette I would have to: get on a motorbike and drive four kilometres away; make a cigarette holder out of paper so my hands didn’t smell; eat a lemon afterwards so she couldn’t smell it; then motorbike back to her house. The effort took half an hour and I did it multiple times a day. Talk about missing moments!”
ANITA Ngatu doesn't regret the years she worked in a fast food restaurant but says, these days, she thinks more carefully about nutrition.
“At the time you are just thinking about providing for your family, putting food on the table,” says Anita Tongan, Ngāti Porou.
“But I really wanted more for my family, and to help the whānau of others, which is why I changed direction and trained as a nurse.”
Graduating with a Bachelors degree in 2015, the mother-of-three worked in both aged and hospital care until 2019 when she joined Turanga Health as co-ordinator for its E Tipu E Rea referral hub for services for mothers and babies.
But it took just a couple of months before she realised she could better use her training in a hands-on role and became a nurse with Turanga Health's Well Child Tamariki Ora programme.
“I've worked with adults for most of my life so working with tamariki – and doing post-grad Well Child Tamariki Ora training -- means there is always something to learn,” she says.
“I love the contact with māmā and pēpi and it's always a privilege to be welcomed into their homes and to play a role in their lives.”
Introducing Turanga Health kaiawhina and Covid-19 vaccinator Henry Lamont. Henry has trained as a vaccinator in an effort to ensure there are more male faces in this space. He's doing it for his whānau and his community. Watch the short clip and keep up to date as to when the next rural vaccination clinic is in your area.
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