Whanganui's health sector joins forces to tackle smoking

29 August 2013

From left: Te Oranganui Aukati Kaipaipa practitioner Sandi Ranganui and Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) professional advisor health promotion Lauren Tamehana ‘manning’ the WERO stand in Wanganui Hospital’s main entrance this week.
Whanganui District Health Board’s (WDHB) Public Health Centre and Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority have joined forces this week to raise awareness of cancer.
For three days in a row, the two organisations have set up a stand outside Wanganui Hospital’s main entrance to capture people entering and leaving the hospital.
WDHB professional advisor health promotion Lauren Tamehana said besides raising awareness about cancer which affects many in the Māori community, the aim was to also promote WERO – a quit smoking competition for groups, rather than individuals.
“This week was chosen because it tied in nicely with the Whanganui Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day on Friday. Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority have set up displays at various sites over the week to raise awareness of cancer and promote WERO,” Mrs Tamehana said. “It was a good opportunity to discuss how smoking can cause cancer and how we can help minimise the effects of smoking on our Māori communities.”
The two organisations were keen to promote the WERO competition which is set to run in Whanganui for 12 weeks from 1 September. Mrs Tamehana says WERO’s emphasis on encouraging people to quit together makes it ideal for workplaces, sport teams, community groups, churches, marae and whanau. 
Social media and mobile technologies such as a website, iPad and iPhone app are used to display how all the teams are doing, and the WERO Facebook keeps team members and supporters updated.
Team members can stay in touch with each other online, ask questions about their withdrawals symptoms and receive expert advice.  To find out more, can contact Desiree McLean at the WDHB’s Public Health Centre 348 1775 or go to www.wero.me.