March 19, 2020
History say Maori need greater role in Covid plan
A Māori public health specialist says there’s no excuse for the failure of health and civil defence authorities to engage Māori in their planning.
Dr Rhys Jones, a senior lecturer in Māori health at the University of Auckland, says while whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities are mobilising and trying to get the information and resources they need to prepare for what is coming, that is not being linked to the official Covid-19 pandemic response.
He says a treaty partnership approach is essential, with Māori input and leadership at all levels of the pandemic response.
"Given that in the past Māori have been much worse affected by infectious diseases and pandemics like this one, we need to be putting equity right at the centre of all our decision-making around how the government responds, how the Ministry of Health and health sector respond to this pandemic," Dr Jones says.
He’s pleased with the way iwi are adapting tikanga to minimise the risk of passing on the virus.
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