Poor sta­tis­tics prompt ac­tion

Ruapehu Press - - Your Local News - RUBY NYIKA

Tau­marunui has the du­bi­ous distinc­tion of lead­ing the coun­try’s sta­tis­tics for preg­nant women who are over­weight or smok­ers

In Tau­marunui, 70 per cent of preg­nant women are over­weight or obese.

Waikato DHB re­search shows the pro­por­tion of preg­nant women clas­si­fied as obese or over­weight in the three towns - Tau­marunui, Toko­roa and Te Kuiti ranges from 50 to 70 per cent.

And that’s not the only star­tling statis­tic - one in two smoke dur­ing preg­nancy, more than three times the na­tional av­er­age.

Smok­ing and obe­sity dur­ing preg­nancy can cause a range of health com­pli­ca­tions for moth­ers and ba­bies.

Poverty is a big part of the prob­lem, Tau­marunui mid­wife Karen Walker said.

‘‘We have a re­ally high de­pri­va­tion score. We have a high num­ber of peo­ple with ad­di­tional risk fac­tors for things like obe­sity, smok­ing ... [moth­ers] are at risk of hav­ing growth-re­stricted ba­bies.’’

Walker said ma­ter­nity ser­vices are dys­func­tional and too lim­ited for such a vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­nity.

A sur­vey by the Waikato DHB found 66 per cent of Tau­marunui chil­dren live in con­di­tions con­sid­ered to be at the high­est de­pri­va­tion lev­els, com­pared with 25 per cent in the Waikato DHB district over­all.

There isn’t enough sup­port or ed­u­ca­tion and mid­wives are stretched too thin, Walker said.

‘‘It cer­tainly cre­ates an anx­i­ety and a pres­sure to us mid­wives. There are only two of us [in Tau­marunui].

‘‘It’s al­most that [the sys­tem is] set up to fail.’’

Dr Tim Mal­loy, pres­i­dent of Royal New Zealand Col­lege of Gen­eral Prac­ti­tion­ers, said Ma¯ ori peo­ple liv­ing in iso­lated ru­ral ar­eas were par­tic­u­larly at risk for health com­pli­ca­tions and there­fore need more help.

The DHB will fo­cus on ad­dress­ing Ma¯ ori health in­equal­i­ties and cre­at­ing an in­te­grated ma­ter­nity hub for the three prob­lem towns by adopt­ing a lead ma­ter­nity carer model (LMC).

Te Kuiti’s birthing unit will close. Money will be rein­vested back into pro­vid­ing closer and more ac­ces­si­ble sup­port ser­vices for all three towns and up­grad­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Toko­roa and Tau­marunui.

‘‘They’re pretty tacky ... [We’ll] make them a more pleas­ant place to be.

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