For health advice, call the dedicated Healthline free on 0800 358 5453
If you or your whānau need financial support, contact Work and Income on 0800 559 009 or www.workandincome.govt.nz
If you need support getting help contact your local Whānau Ora partner: www.whanauora.nz/partners
If you need immediate support from a counsellor free call or text 1737
Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency will be also sharing the latest COVID-19 guidelines and advice to keep you and your whānau safe and well via our social media channels. Follow us now on Facebook and Twitter.
For those kaimahi in the health and social work space, and other like-minded organisations, WOCA will be updating its online resources with the latest reports to help inform COVID-19 responses and strategies.
Our Whānau Ora services and organisations are deemed as ‘Essential Services’ during the COVID-19 Level 4 Alert period for New Zealand.
Whānau Ora and Māori Health providers will redeploy all of its resources to support a nationally coordinated Public Health effort, to support whānau during these unprecedented times.
Activities by the Whānau Ora workforce include whānau wellbeing checks and the distribution of Whānau Ora Hygiene Packs.
Merepeka Raukawa-Tait says the just released targeted financial package for Māori is a good start and looks forward to the government releasing more funding and support to vulnerable communities.
Today the government announced a range of initiatives for Māori – including $15 million to the 3 Commissioning Agencies to inject mechanisms and care packages directly into the poorest communities.
“I tautoko our Māori Ministers who have come together to acknowledge and put together a package for Māori,” Raukawa-Tait, chair of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, said.
She said new funding will be targeted by accredited Whānau Ora providers to whānau within their communities. The collective is the only support network – including government agencies – who have the ability to provide immediate support and relief for whānau.
Raukawa-Tait said WOCA was left to initiate hygiene and sanitation packs for families, where cleaning products were considered a luxury. The first 10,000 will be dispatched this week with the remaining 20,000 distributed over the next fortnight.
“Our providers know their communities and whānau who will need these packs and they will receive them over the next few weeks,” Raukawa-Tait said.
She also acknowledged that Māori generally did not engage with the health system with many living in isolated rural communities.
The government will provide funding for Māori-led, Māori-specific vaccination programmes to address equity issues, including a targeted health promotion campaign and to support the workforce of Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies to respond to the increase demand as a result of Covid-19.
“The health packages designed for clinics don’t serve the majority of our people,” Raukawa-Tait said.
“It is timely that we finally get funded to support initiatives by Māori to Māori for Māori.”
Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) has announced that it will redeploy Whānau Ora funding and resources to fight the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
WOCA will use the funds to support whānau Māori, especially kaumātua and those most vulnerable to the virus.
“We are going to stand up against this virus together, because we know that our communities are more susceptible to these kinds of viruses than the general population. We owe it to whānau to create a for Māori, by Māori strategy to protect their health and wellbeing at this uncertain time,” said John Tamihere, CEO of WOCA.
“It is well-documented that Māori have higher rates of chronic diseases, including respiratory diseases, and this puts us at a higher risk of negative health outcomes from COVID-19, compounded by inequities and barriers in the healthcare system,” Mr Tamihere added.
Furthermore, with many whānau Māori living in areas with limited medical resources, there are fears among Whānau Ora providers that a COVID-19 outbreak will stretch resources.
“Hygiene is now extraordinarily important so, as part of our strategy, we are in the process of putting together hygiene kits for our whānau in financial difficulty. Through Whānau Ora partners, we have strong channels of distribution by dedicated navigators who know best the local communities and their needs,” Mr Tamihere said.
The kits will contain a month's supply of hygiene products for a whānau of up to five members, and will include hand sanitiser, rubber gloves and cleaning products. WOCA aims to send out 30,000 packs in the first wave, with 60,000 packs to be distributed at a later date.