March 16, 2020
Marae role in Covid response assessed
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Marae could play a role looking after children during the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, according to emergency plans being drawn up by the New Zealand Māori Council.
Executive director Matthew Tukaki says because of the age structure of the Māori population and the large number of Māori with underlying conditions such as heart and respiratory disease, the virus carried a particular risk.
Many Māori grandparents are raising their mokopuna, so networks need to be strengthened to ensure there is a back-up if caregivers get sick.
He says resources need to go into building up Māori health services and into the infrastructure that might be needed by marae, from hand sanitiser and bedding to secure power and internet connections.
“If kids are put off school then it might be the case that marae become a daily gathering point for kids who otherwise can’t be cared for by their parents during the day because they are going to be at work earning money to put food on the table,” Mr Tukaki says.
It's also important people use the healthline – 0800 358 5453 â€“ if they have concerns about symptoms of contact with coronavirus rather than rushing into a GP or Hauora, because of the needs to protect Māori health workers from unnecessary exposure.
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