PRESS RELEASE: Research to improve medicines access for whānau

Apr 12, 2021

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8/4/21

PRESS RELEASE: Research to improve medicines access for whānau

Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Puna Rongoā o Aotearoa, the Māori Pharmacists’ Association, will be leading key research into how whānau Māori can receive equitable access to medicines.

The research, titled Te Puna Rongoā – Achieving Medicines Access Equity for Māori, is being made possible with a funding grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand and PHARMAC Te Pātaka Whaioranga and will be undertaken in partnership with researchers from National Hauora Coalition.

Jo Hikaka (Ngāruahine) from the Māori Pharmacists’ Association will be leading the research. “Medicines used to treat minor ailments like eczema, scabies and head lice are fully funded when you have a prescription from your prescriber. You can get these from your doctor, a nurse prescriber or a pharmacist prescriber. These same medicines are also available in pharmacies for purchase but, without getting a prescription first, people are paying the full price for them. We are looking at whether there are differences between Māori and non-Māori in access to medicines to treat minor ailments.”

The research team, made up of Māori Pharmacists’ Association pharmacists across Aotearoa, will also talk with whānau about their experiences and perceptions of being able to access minor ailment medicines from pharmacies. Pharmacists are the most frequently visited health professionals and whānau will be asked their views on how pharmacists can help more, not only with medicines, but with health and wellbeing more generally.

“This project gives us an opportunity to privilege Māori voices in the development of pro-equity pharmacist services,” says Jo. “It is a project that upholds the organisational vision of Māori Pharmacists’ Association – to make sure Māori get the best possible access to and experience from medicines to ultimately improve health outcomes. This research isn’t just about medicines – it also looks at how we, as pharmacists, can support whānau with health information and navigating other parts of the health system.”

The Māori Pharmacists’ Association has already linked in with key people in the health system so that the research can be used to build better services for Māori across Aotearoa, including National Hauora Coalition.

Dr Anneka Anderson (Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu), a researcher with National Hauora Coalition, says, “we are excited to partner with Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Puna Rongoā o Aotearoa on this important research that embodies our vision of mana whānau, whānau ora! We are inspired to see an all Māori research team placing whānau at the centre of the study and tackling equity issues around everyday health issues and access to core medicines that have such a huge impact on the everyday lives of whānau.”

Ngā Kaitiaki o Te Puna Rongoā o Aotearoa – The Māori Pharmacists’ Association’s vision is to lead Māori responsiveness in the pharmacy sector in the development and delivery of services aimed to increase medicines optimisation for Māori and ultimately improve Māori Health outcomes. Established in 2003, the organisation is made up of Māori pharmacists
from across Aotearoa. The organisation advocates for and supports Māori health equity through governance, education and healthcare delivery.

The National Hauora Coalition kaupapa is mana whānau, whānau ora and is a lead advocate for hauora Māori (Wai 2687) through the Waitangi Tribunal Health Services Kaupapa Inquiry (Wai 2575). In its day-to-day activities NHC partners with a wide range of agencies, Iwi and industry groups to commission and deliver a broad range of indigenously designed health and social services to improve health outcomes for Māori, achieve health equity and greater social cohesion for the benefit of Aotearoa.

Research team
Jo Hikaka (Ngāruahine), Robert Haua (Ngaiterangi), Nora Parore (Ngāti Whātua; Ngāpuhi; Ngāti Wai; Te Roroa), Kevin Pewhairangi (Ngāti Porou; Ngāti Whakaue), Mariana Hudson (Whakatōhea; Ngāti Porou), Samuel Martin (Ngāpuhi), Brendon McIntosh (Kāi Tahu), Dr Rachel Brown (Te Atiawa, Kāi Tahu), Dr Anneka Anderson (Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu), Pauline Te Karu (administrator).

[ENDS]

For further information please contact:
Joanna Hikaka
j.hikaka@auckland.ac.nz.