WDHB and Hauora A Iwi sign memorandum of understanding

4 December 2012
The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) and Whanganui iwi relationship board Hauora A Iwi reconfirmed their relationship with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) late last week.
WDHB board chair Kate Joblin says the signing is significant for a couple of reasons.

From left: WDHB chair Kate Joblin and Hauora A Iwi chair Barbara Ball
“The WDHB and Hauora A Iwi are both strongly committed to achieving the best health outcomes for Māori residing in the WDHB region,” Mrs Joblin says. “We have long recognised that our Māori population faces enormous challenges due to their lower socio economic status and the rural nature of our economy.
“While there is a lot of good work being done to improve the health status of Māori, we have identified a number of areas which we are determined to address in partnership with Hauora A Iwi.
“Hauora A Iwi is all about contributing to the WDHB’s decision-making processes and being able to monitor the progress made at a governance level.”
Hauora A Iwi chair Barbara Ball says when the two boards met on Friday, the members engaged in a robust and positive discussion around the need to focus on antenatal and postnatal care of mothers and babies.
“Good health begins before our babies are born so we are talking about joining forces to improve our efforts to nurture and educate mothers and whānau so that our babies have a good start in life,” Mrs Ball says.
“Improving our breastfeeding rates and our ability to reach mothers with antenatal education are two top priorities. We need to make sure our mums are enrolled with a lead maternity carer and that after they’ve delivered their babies, they are linked back to their doctors, Plunket, Tamariki Ora, Family Start, iwi health providers and their own whānau support.”
Mrs Ball says while the WDHB and Hauora A Iwi now have a MoU, both boards recognise that their commitment to improving the health of Māori involves all health providers. “And this includes inter-sectoral providers of housing, education, employment and social wellbeing. No agency can work alone. It’s about agencies working together to help families.”
In the meantime, Mrs Joblin says the main difference between the previous MoU signed in October 2006 and the most recent one is the strengthening of obligations between the two parties and the linking through to the Huarahi Oranga Māori Health Strategy and the WDHB’s annual Māori Health Plan.
“We will now review the MoU every three years in line with the election process to give the new incoming WDHB board opportunity to review the agreement and the relationship between the two parties,” Mrs Joblin says. “I’m delighted that the WDHB and Hauora A Iwi are working so well together. A strong collaborative relationship between us augers wells for improved Māori health outcomes.”