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Raising a baby can be a wonderful experience, but at times it can be daunting and overwhelming – even more so when you’re a young mum.
At 18, Zariah Timothy is mum to Mataira Timothy-Gillett, who, at four months old, is thriving on her whānau and young mum’s aroha.
But, regardless of age and whānau support, new mums still need reassurance that their babies are reaching all their milestones and that they have access to the appropriate health services and checks that set the foundation for their lifelong health and wellbeing.
Tamariki Ora Well Child is a Ministry of Health initiative offering a series of health assessments, immunisation education and support services for children and their families from birth to five years. The programme is delivered to 645 children throughout Hauraki rohe by health provider Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki.
It also includes health promotion activities and is an important gateway for parents to access primary and specialist health care, education and social services.
Tamariki Ora Well Child nurse visits can start at birth or at six weeks, depending on the midwife’s referral.
Registered nurse Krista Harries has been visiting Mataira in her own home since she was six weeks old. While mums can also opt to take their babies to a clinic, Zariah, from Thames, appreciates the convenience of not having to take her baby out of the house when it’s time for her check-ups.
“Keeping baby in her own home keeps her happy and settled during the visits and makes Krista’s visits a little easier,” she says.
Zariah also enjoys the “whānau-based approach” Tamariki Ora Well Child offers.
“When Krista comes, it’s almost like a friend coming to visit baby and me, not just a nurse,” she says.
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki Manager of Oranga o te Tangata (Public Health and Health Promotion Services) Debbie Petersen-Pilcher says Tamariki Ora Well Child also works closely with other services to support families where needed.
“It is about whānau ora and ensuring we provide services that wrap around our whānau, support their aspirations toward wellness and build upon our vision for Hauraki to be a healthy nation,” she says.
Amputated limbs, blindness, erectile dysfunction, stroke, kidney and heart disease are just a few complications of a condition suffered by over 200,000 New Zealanders.
Diabetes is a sometimes life-threatening disease that affects three times as many Māori and Pacific Islanders as it does other cultures.
And Ministry of Health figures suggest that another 100,000 New Zealanders could have the condition without realising it.
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki dietictian Claire Cannon says once a person gets over the initial shock of a diabetes diagnosis they can focus on implementing positive changes to improve their health.
“I have seen people make a real positive difference to their health by improving their diet, becoming more active and reducing stress,” she says.
Diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, doesn’t do its job properly. Insulin is needed to balance our blood sugars, which increase when we consume carbohydrates and sugary foods.
There are three types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition where the body attacks the cells that produce insulin. Without insulin blood levels in the body remain high resulting in damage to the vessels that supply blood to vital organs. Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented but it can be managed through a combination of medication, healthy food choices and exercise. People with Type 1 diabetes need to manage their blood sugar levels with insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and can be helped by maintaining a healthy weight and through making dietary changes and lifestyle changes.
Gestational Diabetes affects some women during pregnancy when they can’t produce enough insulin to meet the demands of a growing foetus – sometimes up to three times that of normal needs. Gestational diabetes usually disappears after pregnancy, however the woman’s risk of developing risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 50-60% in the future, so Diabetes NZ advises yearly blood tests.
The main symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, abnormal weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability, recurrent infections, blurry vision and erectile dysfunction in men.
Claire says some people may not be aware they have diabetes, so if they recognise any or all of the symptoms above, they should see their GP, who can arrange blood tests.
World Diabetes Day is November 14.
Forward-thinking rangatahi leadership group Te Mata Rangatira (TMR), received the national Public Health AssociationTu Rangatira Mo Te Ora Awardon October 11 for exemplary commitment.
A representative group of 21 whānau from Hauraki attended the Parnell, Auckland ceremony as support.
The award is given annually to those who have shown exemplary commitment to making a difference locally, regionally and nationally.
Nominated by TCDC Councillor Sally Christie and Former Green MP Catherine Delahunty, the award was recognition for Te Mata Rangatira’s focus on empowering rangatahi leadership and action.
President of the Public Health Association of New Zealand Lee Tutuki Te Wharau says Te Mata Rangatira’s work was meaningful, successful and unique in challenging rangatahi to be initiators of activities inspiring other young people and the communities around them.
"You have been an instrument of change, and an inspiration or others to continue contributing to the future of rangatahi and their whānau,” she said
She acknowledged and praised TMR’s work, which included developing and sustaining the Hauraki Rangatahi Summit in August this year; bringing whakapapa into the 21st Century and creating whakapapa trails in their local maunga; developing and launching ‘Ko Koe’ - an anti-bullying campaign and working with organisations nationally to change their approach and perspective on rangatahi potential.
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki Iwi Health Promoters and TMR co-facilitators Frank Thorne and Carrie Taipari-Thorne say the award and the group’s acknowledgement is evidence of a philosophy they work by, ‘mahia te mahia’ - do what needs to be done, and reap the collective rewards.
“If anything, it has reminded them of their potential and has simply inspired them to think bigger and work harder for their community.”
Every day, two New Zealand tane will lose their lives to prostate cancer. They could be your father, brother, uncle, grandfather, husband or your mate.
Early diagnosis is critical - if detected and treated early, 600 lives a year could be saved.
This month is Blue September and the Prostate Cancer Foundation is raising awareness and funds through initiating ‘Blue Do’ events, where the community can organise fundraisers such as an office morning tea, a baking sale or fishing trip - anything to get a team together to raise vital funds to fight prostate cancer and spread the message for men to look after their health and get checked.
The prostate is a gland located behind a man’s bladder. Part of the reproductive system, it is regulated by the male sex hormone testosterone and is responsible for producing the majority of fluid that makes up semen.
The size of the prostate changes with age, growing rapidly during puberty - fuelled by an increase in hormones - but in an adult it should be the size of a walnut.
Many men begin to have problems with their prostate as they get older. The Prostate Cancer Foundation says most can be caused by simple enlargement of the prostate, but a few are caused by cancer.
Regular prostate PSA tests are recommended for men over the age of 40 if there is a family history of prostate cancer; or who are between the ages of 50 and 70. PSA is a small protein released into the blood by the prostate and if levels in the blood are high it is an indicator that there may be abnormalities in the prostate gland.
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki Clinical Services Manager Taima Campbell says prostate cancer may not exhibit symptoms in the early stages so it is important for men to be vigilant in noticing any changes and to have regular check-ups.
“Men having any problems such as pain, fever, swelling, blood and pus in the urine or problems passing urine should consult their doctor without delay,” she says.
For more information, go to www.prostate.org.nz
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