The New Zealand Maori Council is, from Monday morning, rolling out a national awareness campaign dealing with COVD-19 (Corona Virus). Matthew Tukaki, Councils Executive Director who will be arriving back to New Zealand early this evening has said “if it’s one thing we can be doing its getting information out to our people as soon as possible about what to look out for, where to seek assistance and support and what our people need to do to keep well”. Tukaki has also said the campaign won’t just be focussed on health promotion messages but also assistance and support if people find themselves unemployed or laid off:
“The reality is Maori will be more impacted than most when it comes to both the health and economic impacts of the Virus- we now we are more likely to fall ill, more likely not to have access to primary and support health care and that many in our regions will find it tough to access help. Just was we did when it came to the typhoid epidemic we need to step in and get our communities active and also support them wherever we can. Health promotion campaigns are one thing but getting on the ground supplies to our community organsiations, health and hauora will be fundamental. We need to attack this virus from every possible avenue.” Tukaki said
“We also need to develop a self-isolation program and if that means opening our Maraes up then I encourage Iwi and hapu to think about it. In Italy at the moment the Government cannot keep up on demand when it comes to available beds and people are now being isolated into mass tent networks. I don’t propose that here but I do know that because we already have overcrowding in our homes we need a plan B – that includes for our urban dwellers. We also need to put in place a plan for those elders in our community who may be looking after their mokopuna – we know that elders are more susceptible to the disease and we know that they are probably the primary carers. That means we need a plan on what to do if our children find themselves with Nan or Pop – I’ll be having more to say about that shortly”. Tukaki said
Tukaki will be calling a national phone hook-up of the New Zealand Maori Councils national taskforce on health tomorrow evening and will also be seeking to meet with Health officials to in pace a Maori Health Response Plan.