Hearty Hauora: Reaching Māori wahine in a new way

BreastScreen Aotearoa participating in Hearty Hauora last year
BreastScreen Aotearoa participating in Hearty Hauora last year
In November 2017, BreastScreen Midland participated in Hearty Hauora, the first health initiative of its kind - a partnership between the Nga Whanau o Mangaru (Mongrel Mob) and the local district health board.

The event was held as part of the Nga Whanau o Mangaru leadership group’s health strategy to improve the health of their members and whanau.

Carol Serra, Manager, Project Support at Waikato District Health Board, approached BreastScreen Midland (BSM) seeking support as one of the services provided by Waikato DHB. Shona Duxfield, District Service Manager, Screening Services, Waikato District Health Board, seized the opportunity and took it to her team at BreastScreen Midland.

‘We wanted to work with the willing, so we began by seeking volunteers from the BSM team. This event was above and beyond their day-to-day work. The passion the team brought, contributed to the fantastic experience of the day,’ says Shona.

Preparing for the event was a considerable undertaking. While Carol and Erin Shields (Project Team Member) coordinated participating services, and worked to build trust and relationships, Mary-Ann Nixon coordinated the BSM team. Each participating service had to complete a form explaining the services they would provide at the event, and what they would need on the day. Nga Whanau o Mangaru then sent a message out to their members so they knew what was being offered and, for breast screening, they gave participants the opportunity to enrol before the day.

On the day, BreastScreen Midland joined 23 other providers at the YMCA on Pembroke Street in Hamilton to support more than 200 Nga Whanau o Mangaru and whanau. Some had travelled from out of town to be there.

Two members of the BSM team were based at the event site to identify eligible women, provide them with an enrolment form, and guide them to the transport provided to get them to screening. The BreastCare Centre dedicated the day’s session to the event. Key promotional messages (provided by BSM) were announced by the MC over the day.

One of the women screened on the day was Maraea, who had travelled from Hastings and had never had a mammogram. She had heard stories from other women that mammograms were painful so she was very nervous, but as Maraea says, ‘From the moment I was greeted to the time I had the mammogram, the lovely staff really put me at ease. They were amazing. I really appreciated that they took the time to sit with me and reassure me.’

‘I have an auntie who has been diagnosed with breast cancer so I know it’s important to have a mammogram. I found the whole experience really positive and now I’m happy to encourage all women to go and have their mammograms,’ says Maraea.

‘Although only 5 women had mammograms, two of them had not been screened before. These two are so important to the programme because their experience was a really good one – the change in them after their mammogram was amazing. – relief and wondering why they had put it off. We want these women to screen every two years – we hope they return,’ says Shona.

Cervical screening was also offered on the day at the BreastCare Centre and the immunisation team promoted vaccines.

‘Overall the day had a great vibe,’ says Shona. ‘It was very whanau-oriented and respectful. We managed to enrol some nervous, first time screeners from our priority populations, and also developed great relationships across the board that we can build upon for the future.’

Nga Whanaau o Mangaru also coordinates Mana Wahine days for their members. BreastScreen Midland will also be involved in that event later this year.

Many thanks to the BreastScreen Midland team: Mary Ann Nixon, Faye Cowan, Kate McFadyen, Rachael Collier, Vicki Mallett-Smith & Kathryn Nel. A special thanks also to Lesley Martin and her team who set up rooms for cervical screening. The day wouldn’t have been the success it was without the incredible support and leadership from the Waikato/Nga Whanau o Mangaru team as well.

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Page last updated: 12 April 2018