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Māori nursing and workforce initiatives
In Budget 2008, the Government has allocated $12 million over the next four years to initiatives aimed at boosting the capacity and capability of Māori health workforce.
The funding will support three focus areas:
- Māori Nursing and Midwifery Workforce Development: aims to increase the numbers and skill base of Māori nurses, including a focus on leadership development, recruitment into a career as a nurse or midwife, and ongoing professional development and training.
- Promotion of health as a career: seeks to encourage Māori secondary school students to pursue qualifications towards a career in health. This initiative includes supporting Māori students studying at tertiary institutions and will be complimented by regional health expos.
- Pre-Entry to Nursing Programmes: these programmes support Māori returning to the workforce by providing them a training pathway to a nursing career. These programmes also provide cultural and pastoral care, as well as mentoring support to complete an undergraduate qualification in nursing.
Māori health workers play an important role in ensuring that Māori have access to and receive best practice health care. Māori health workers can also help bridge the cultural divide between the medical world and the Māori world.
As a population group, Māori have, on average, the poorest health status of any ethnic group in New Zealand. Māori suffer from higher incidences of infectious diseases, avoidable hospitalisation, avoidable mortality and specific diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Building a competent, capable, skilled and experienced Māori health and disability workforce is therefore crucial to improving health outcomes for Māori, as well as providing appropriate care for Māori individuals and their whānau.