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A New Initiative For Maori Pregnant Women And Their Whanau Living On The Coast.

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A Matauranga Haputanga - antenatal education programme is to be established on the West Coast.

"There is a need for a culturally appropriate parenting and education service during the time the mother is hapu pregnant", says Tracey Page, Rata Te Awhina Kaiawhina.

In 2007 West Coast District Health Board data showed at least 10% of the total population of birthing mothers on the West Coast are Maori. Sharryn Forbes-Panere, WCDHB Kaiawhina notes, "this means more than 40 Maori babies are born each year, however very few of these mothers attend antenatal education programmes".

Sharryn and Tracey are working with Grey Base Hospital's McBrearty Ward as part of a working party looking at establishing a Maori kaupapa antenatal education programme that aims to improve access for Maori to these programmes.

"We have found that the idea has snowballed with both Maori and Pakeha wanting to come on board and we encourage anyone with an interest to become involved.

We want to start the programme by early July with a day for new Maori mums and hapu Maori women to come along and attend an educational session and have an appointment with their midwife at the same time. We are hoping the community will get behind this programme which in the future may become whanau or community led".

Relationships have been built by some of the working party members meeting with a group of local Kaumatua who have embraced the idea but encourage the importance of whanau.leadership and involvement.

West Coast District Health Board Clinical Midwifery Manager, Jude Bruce fully supports the idea of providing a service that is more meaningful for Maori.

The group has been successful in securing a Healthy Eating Healthy Action (HEHA) grant to further develop the concept.

On Friday 26 June 2009 from 10am to 1pm a Whanau Hui will be held at the Arahura Whare Wananga. Anyone interested to participate please contact Tracey Page 0272053433.

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