THE challenging days of the Covid-19 pandemic have changed how Turanga Health delivers care forever, chief executive Reweti Ropiha told directors at the company’s annual general meeting last month.
Mr Ropiha says the disruption of Covid-19 turned out to be an accelerator of change as the Māori health organisation offered more care in real time like influenza vaccinations on a Saturday, doctor and nurse telephone consultations, and virtual exercise sessions during lockdown.
“Whānau who previously considered the only way of receiving health services was by meeting their nurse or kaiāwhina face-to-face, found other ways to receive their care,” he says.
“Whānau could interact with staff on the phone, use apps, online tools and video conferences. And in many cases, they found we could offer a far more responsive approach.”
Mr Ropiha says many whānau now see and understand this to be an okay way to receive some of their health care. “We’ve had feedback on the new complementary ways of service delivery and in the process also discovered more about their needs. Who has wifi? Who has a shower over the bath? And who has support over the weekend? All this information helps us provide a more responsive service.”
Mr Ropiha says If Covid-19 has taught the organisation one thing “it’s that no health system can stay stagnant. While existing health care methods won’t ever be replaced - new health care delivery models will certainly be retained to complement them.”
Turanga Health board chairman Pene Brown says he and the other hauora directors were impressed with Turanga Health’s response to the challenging year and the leadership shown by chief executive Reweti Ropiha and the wider team.
“Reweti’s sensible leadership in the past meant Turanga Health was ready to hit the ground running when it needed. Covid-19 was new to all of us but Turanga Health didn’t start from ground zero. With some subtle changes the organisation leapt into action providing care and services to enrolled whānau and others.”
Turanga Health offers a range of wraparound community health services for all ages. It’s services such as fitness programmes, classes for new mums, and support for older people, are accessed by around 3,000 Māori and non-Māori living within the tribal boundaries of Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, and Te Aitanga a Māhaki.
The health organisation operates from a campus in Derby St and a general practice in Te Karaka which has just under 1600 patients enrolled. Turanga Health has one general practitioner, 10 nurses, and 30 community workers and kaiāwhina.
Successful Turanga Health programmes include the Tū Mahi workplace wellness programme. In the year ended June 2020 mobile health staff provided wellness checks for 203 workers at 15 workplaces from its state-of-the-art mobile clinic. Twenty-three individuals were referred for nurse follow up.
In the same time period 377 pēpi (babies) were referred to Turanga Health’s Well Child Tamariki Ora service. Forty-three percent of Māori babies were fully breastfed at six weeks with 40% reported to be still being breastfed at six months.
During the company’s annual general meeting last month Mr Ropiha thanked the dedicated workers “that kept Turanga Health’s heart beating this year”.
“Early and deserved praise must go to the nurses and kaiāwhina working in the community during the lockdowns.”
He also thanked all Turanga Health funders and governance kaitiaki for the part they played during a most extraordinary 2020 year.
Board chairman Pene Brown also paid tribute to health, social, and iwi organisations across the region that worked collaboratively with each other for the health and wellbeing of everyone in the region during the Covid-19 response.
Turanga Health’s easily digestible annual report created as a concise way to learn about the company’s accomplishments.
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