On the one-year anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle, we’re taking time to pause and reflect on the effect it continues to have on our communities, says Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay Acting Group Director of Operations Paula Jones.
“For many members of our community, we are still in the midst of the recovery phase. We continue to grapple with the effects of what happened overnight on February 14, 2023,” says Jones.
Health NZ has been tasked with supporting the recovery in the Hawke’s Bay community, with oversight of its health and wellbeing, says Jones.
“This is a role we will continue to hold for several years. This will be no quick fix, but we are proud to serve our community.”
Health NZ’s recovery efforts have been diverse.
Over the past year, Health NZ has facilitated community grants, which have funded and continue to fund a variety of events which allow people to connect with one another.
Additionally, there is funding for counselling sessions for those who are struggling, free GP visits for displaced people, and we have supported the community with public health advice such as managing the effects of dust, says Jones.
“We are continually asking ourselves how do we support and comfort a community that has been impacted by such a life changing experience. The most effective way we can do that is by offering a range of tools and services to help guide the community as we rebuild and restore our resilience.
“To those who lost loved ones, lost homes, or simply lost a sense of security: be brave, be strong, be steadfast.
“Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.”
How Health New Zealand has contributed to cyclone recovery includes:
– Our kaimahi were directly involved in efforts afterwards at the evacuation sites, setting up emergency clinics, and conducting welfare checks.
– We established a satellite Emergency Department at Napier Health Centre.
– The Renal team arranged for home haemodialysis patients in Napier, Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa to be brought to Hawke’s Bay Hospital for treatment and arranged accommodation for these patients until they could safely return to their homes.
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– We funded primary healthcare delivery in affected regions immediately after the cyclone, ensuring people were able to access primary care from pharmacies, clinical telehealth and general practices.
– Produced booklets and online resources on how to protect your health after a flood.
– We worked alongside Te Aka Whai Ora to provide psycho-social support.
– Enhanced healthcare provision in isolated communities, such as providing chemotherapy treatment for people in Wairoa
– A $2million Hauora and Wellbeing package, that includes seven free counselling sessions for those that need it, and free GP visits for people that were displaced.
– The $1million Wellbeing and Hauroa Community Grants package.