Māori urged to take bowel screening test

Wairarapa District Health Board is working to spread the word amongst local Māori about the importance of taking part in the National Bowel Screening Programme.

“We want our whānau to be really active in their health journeys – and be well”

Title: Screening stories: Māori Health, Wairarapa DHB

[Jason to camera]

Kia ora.

My name’s Jason Kerehi.

I work for the Wairarapa DHB.

I am the executive leader of the Maori Health Team.

Bowel cancer affects men and women, and this programme is the first in the country that’s for men.

It’s for men and women, but it’s the first national screening programme that’ll be here for men.

It’s targeted at the age group from 60 to 74, and once you enter the programme you do a test every two years; so it’s about understanding that and having that discipline and getting into that routine, because that’s the age group where it impacts on people the most.

[Janeen to camera]

Not to be scared of it.

That you can do it in the privacy of your own home.

That there’s avenues for help, there’s avenues to go and talk to and get more clarification around there; whether that’s the 0800 number, your GP, or talking to one of us.

But it is to come out there, be brave, challenge yourself and go and do this.

You own this.

No longer be passive in your own health journey.

We’re wanting our whanau to be really, really active in their health journeys.

It’s bigger than you.

It’s, this journey is bigger than you.

And this is a chance to actually engage early, get things sorted if they need to be sorted, and go on and live a really long healthy life.

Wairarapa DHB is one of the first in the country to join the national roll-out of the bowel screening programme, and it wants to make sure that those who are sent the free test complete it.  

The executive leader of the DHB’s Māori Health Team, Jason Kerehi, notes that this is the first national cancer screening programme for both men and women.

“It’s important that people know that bowel cancer effects men and women, and that they understand the screening process.

“This programme is for people aged 60 to 74: that’s the age group where it impacts on the most people. Once you are invited to take part, you do the test every two years.

“We’ve had a big team working to promote the bowel screening programme, including doctors and nurses, our GP liaison, Māori Health Team and Pacific Health Team.”

Māori Health Coordinator, Janeen Cross, says they’ve been engaging with a number of different rōpū, such as the Māori Women’s Welfare League, Kaumatua Council, and other Māori working within the community.

She says, “It’s important that people have a common understanding, that they’re getting one consistent message; the same kōrero going out to our whānau.”

Janeen says one of the scary things about bowel cancer is that people can have no symptoms, and that’s why taking part in the screening programme will be life-saving for many people.

“We want people not to be afraid of doing the test. You do it in the privacy of your own home, and there are avenues for help and advice - whether that’s the 0800 number (0800 924 432), your GP, or talking to one of us in the Māori Health Team. Support is available throughout the screening process, from when you receive your invitation letter, through to any treatment that may be required.

“We’re taking the whole whānau approach. Some people might not want to engage - but when you’re talking about being there for your tamariki and your mokopuna, it sends a different message to people – “this journey is bigger than you”.

“We are talking about people owning this. We want our whānau to be really active in their health journeys, and be well; we just want our whānau to be well.”

Page last updated: 28 August 2017