The Ministry of Health has recently published the findings of research undertaken to inform a health needs assessment for the Pacific population residing in the metro-Auckland area. The report has two objectives. Firstly, it will be used as a resource to support the metro-Auckland DHBs in identifying key priority areas for Pacific health improvement. Secondly, the report's findings will be used to inform the development of a Pacific Outcomes Framework for the 2013/14 annual planning process.
With 71% of the total New Zealand Pacific population being resident in metro-Auckland, the findings of the health needs assessment generally correlate with the key priority issues for the national Pacific population. Notably, however, the methodology employed to undertake the research for this report involved the use of a constructed population to analyse the health care utilisation data. Through using a Pacific-prioritised method, as opposed to the traditional Māori prioritisation method, greater accuracy was achieved with respect to sub-group analysis. On that note, some interesting areas for further research have been identified, including variability within the metro-Auckland Pacific population across a number of health indicators. For example, the research found that Cook Island Māori, in particular, have a higher prevalence of ischaemic heart disease, strokes, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, gout and rheumatic fever compared to the total “All Pacific” prevalence.
Overall, the health needs analysis identified nine key areas that will need to be addressed by the metro-Auckland DHBs in the 2013/14 Pacific Outcomes Framework. These include, tobacco smoking; obesity and nutrition; access and use of primary care (in-hours, after-hours); health literacy and self management; early childhood health, preventing infectious diseases; chronic disease management (diabetes,CVD); mental health service access; teenage pregnancy and access to contraception; and working inter-sectorally on the determinants of health. Of these, the report highlights the need for the Auckland DHBs to develop a more targeted intervention strategy for managing the issue of obesity.
The full report is available online via the Ministry of Health's website.