Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

He waka eke noa - We’re all in this together
The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) has been working alongside Māori Health Providers and DHBs in the North Island to prepare and educate the workforce for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Here we take a look at efforts by the Northern DHB to educate Kaimahi Māori workforce as well as Turanga Health’s model of vaccination delivery in Tairawhiti.

Ka hoe ate waka kotahi – Rowing the waka together
The Northern District Health Board (DHB) organised a vaccination roadshow to educate Kaimahi (staff/employee) Māori workforce on the COVID-19 Immunisation Plan, understanding the COVID-19 vaccine in Aotearoa New Zealand and participating in Motivational Conversations (MC) training. The vaccine roadshow was delivered under the Ngā Tātai Ihorangi (Tools of wider understanding) banner.

The goals included building vaccine trust for NDHB Kaimahi Māori workforce, strengthening relationships with Māori Health Providers and building a network of Māori COVID-19 vaccine advocates.

IMAC supported the Northern DHB on their roadshow attended by 100 people across Kaitaia, Whangarei, Kawakawa, Dargaville and Kaikohe. The partnership started with IMAC’s Māori engagement advisor Denise Tahuri connecting with Chanelle Armstrong, NDHB Senior communications advisor for Māori health and mental health services who had developed a Māori health roadshow strategy.

“Chanelle had shared her whakaaro (thoughts) for a communications plan,” Denise said. “The NDHB is incorporating the needs of the diverse workforce in Northland, and IMAC was well-placed to support with vaccination education with thanks to locally based IMAC Immunisation Education Facilitator Rita Muller.”

Feedback on these workshops was positive with 83% of respondents expressing confidence in having talks around COVID-19 vaccination in the community following the roadshow.

One participant shared:

“I just wanted to let you know I put all the information into practice that I learnt last week – and shared information in the way that you recommended. As a result of our dialogue, I have had 3 whanau who have all agreed to have COVID Vaccines. All these people were really opposed to having the COVID vaccine but by the end of our korero were asking where they should go to get it. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise – your wisdom, knowledge and approach will definitely be helping our people in Northland.”

Denise Tahuri applauded NDHB on their initiative and success of the roadshow.

“Chanelle and the team from Northland DHB really advocated and championed best practices of how to engage with Māori health teams and provided information to support the COVID-19 roll outs.”

Moving forward the NDHB is working to ensure equity in delivering COVID information to Māori from Kaimahi Māori in their communities.

E tipu e rea – Grow upwards and thrive

Turanga Health has been providing whanau ora (family health services) and supporting communities in Tairawhiti Gisborne for over 20 years.

Since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a priority to ensure sufficient care is placed for Kaumatua (Māori elders) in the region.

Turanga Health CEO Matua Reweti Ropiha created a Kaupapa (principles and ideas) for his staff that ‘this would be the year of the vaccine.’

“I’ve spoken about different vaccines including the COVID-19 one and been whetting the Kaumatua’s appetite since January as the COVID space got closer and closer to home.”

Turanga Health has been aided by IMAC in getting their Kaumatua COVID-19 vaccine rollout up and running in the region.

They provide an intimate setting for Kaumatua receiving the vaccine, and everything is thoroughly prepped prior to initialisation.

IMAC COVID-19 Immunisation Education Facilitator Renee Stewart has been leading the effort to provide support from IMAC and ensure the process is running smoothly. Support has included site checks, peer assessments and training for different responsibilities needed in a vaccination centre.

“I am very impressed with Reweti and his staff at Turanga Health ensuring their Kaumatua and whanau have a comfortable and positive experience with the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. I am looking forward to continue working in collaboration.”

Matua Reweti emphasises the importance of providing a great experience when administering the vaccine to the community.

“It’s not just about giving them the vaccine but providing a great experience from entry to exit. As behind these Kaumatua are another 80 to 100 whanau who could entice them to get the vaccine.”

Moving forward the strategy for their COVID vaccine rollout is to make it more accessible for more people. This includes changing vaccination time availability from 10am to 2pm, to 4pm to 8pm alongside locations that are more approachable such as a sports bar or gazebo, as just some of the ways to bring the programme out of the clinic, and into the public sphere.