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First community programme for Māori heart health launched in Waikato

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Following 10 years of development, including data gathering and resourcing, the Cardiology Dept at the Waikato DHB has launched the first, targeted programme in Aotearoa specifically aimed at improving heart health for Māori.

Dr Rajesh Nair, Head of Cardiology Department at Waikato Hospital, and Chair of Te Manawa Taki (Midland) Cardiac Network has seen major systemic issues relating to Māori heart health care and was motivated to develop Hāpaitia te Hauora Manawa, a targeted community programme with specialist level care for Māori.

“Māori are currently underserved with heart health care and have higher death rates than the average population. There is also an issue that 50-60% don’t come to the mainstream clinics,” says Raj.
“We recognised an important need to get specialist services out to communities in a way that Māori could relate to, ultimately addressing inequalities and creating real, long-term, positive change.”

As part of this programme Māori will be visited directly in their communities by a Specialist Nurse, given diagnostic tests and connected to specialist support services where needed.

“Our aim is to reach at risk members of the community who are not currently accessing primary care through the current systems,” says Raj.
“If we can streamline equitable access to cardiac care for Māori this will improve long-term clinical outcomes and improve the quality of life for many Māori and their whānau.”

Key to engagement and patient management is this app which people can register on and then have their own heart health programme developed and individualised for their specific needs.

The app will enable easy contact, patient management and reminders to be sent to individuals.

“Hāpaitia te Hauora Manawa and this app is very much a live project,” says Raj, “We look forward to shaping and evolving our processes and responses, based on the feedback we get. Ultimately we would like to see this programme scaled to serve all Māori across Aotearoa.”

Dr Rajesh Nair receiving a Matariki Award from the Kingitanga

If you are interested in finding out more about your own heart health and being a part of Hāpaitia te Hauora Manawa, you can register your interest here and one of our Specialist Nurses will be in touch.

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