July 11, 2022
Covid helpers ready to step into Māori health workforce
The chief executive of the Māori Heath Authority says kai manaaki pressed into service to help with Covid vaccination efforts could form the basis of a new Māori health workforce.
Riana Manuel says helping Māori providers to build up the Māori health workforce is a priority for the new authority. Still, realistically it’s three to five years away before numbers will be sufficient.
In the meantime, there’s work to be done encouraging school leavers to pursue careers in health, and also encouraging those who have been drawn in over the past couple of years to go further.
“During Covid, we saw they were doing vaccinating, we saw them doing PCR testing and where I was we were giving them a whole range of other tasks – screening for diabetes, doing blood sugar tests. Now if we were to micro-credential that workforce because they already exist, they become a bit of a gateway into those other clinical services, so I’ve already started to see kai manaaki who are now applying to nursing school and our nurses who are out on the frontline starting to apply to med school,” Ms Manuel says.
The Māori Health Authority will also look to consolidate some of its contracts with the 155 kaupapa Māori providers so they can get on with the mahi without getting bogged down in reporting and monitoring multiple contracts.