TURANGA Health continues to receive recognition for its Covid-19 response by being included in two prominent nationwide studies.
The te Tairāwhiti iwi health provider was innovative and agile during the first two years of its Covid-19 response creating whānau-friendly vaccination settings leading to increased numbers of iwi immunised.
Between 2020 and 2022 Turanga Health was “punching above its weight” says chief executive Reweti Ropiha. While the health sector, other regional providers, and the Government lacked confidence to work at pace, Turanga Health shaped and designed services that made an impact.
In July 2021 just 11,230 eligible people in Tairāwhiti had received their first dose of the vaccine, including 3799 Māori. By the end of June 2022 34,339 eligible people had received their first dose including 17,073 Māori. At the time former Te Whatu Ora Tairāwhiti district director Jim Green said it was “a remarkable turnaround.”
Since the pandemic, Covid-19 response research has moved swiftly. When there was a chance to be involved, Turanga Health felt it had an obligation to do so. “It was important that Turanga Health put up its hand and say ‘yes’ to projects like this so iwi health providers are in a stronger position to do more for Māori in the future,” says Mr Ropiha.
Turanga Health’s work has been included in a Ministry of Health-funded study looking into the ongoing impacts of Covid-19 and future pandemic responses. Twenty-three studies form part of the national project, delving into topics such as aged care residents, Pacific peoples, digital contact tracing, and mandates.
For its part, Turanga Health is looking at the response of its staff and services between 2020 and 2022, what worked well, and what impact that had on equity of services for Māori. The local study is called Tūranga Tangata Rite.
The local study includes an exhaustive review of all the work carried out between 2020 and 2022, as well as interviews, surveys, and wananga with kaimahi and stakeholders. Public feedback collected in real time as ‘whanau voice’ will also be collated to help recapture the experiences of service users.
“Tūranga Tangata Rite will uncover what equity of access for Māori should look like,” says Mr Ropiha. Turanga Health’s approach was about flexibility and hospitality, or Turanga faces in Turanga spaces.
“We now have an incentive to share any available tools and knowledge to ensure that a disruption like Covid has the smallest impact possible. We’re not saying we had all the solutions, but this pandemic has taught us that we were much more relevant than we thought.”
The second project Turanga Health is involved in looks at how Māori health providers can measure the impact and social value of their activities, and whether the tool known as Social Return on Investment might be the way to do it. This study is funded by Health Research Council of New Zealand.
“Making a difference to iwi health outcomes is the main objective of these research projects now.”
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