The New Zealand economy is stated to be very healthy but are New Zealanders healthy? How is the Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) for instance, responding to the challenges of the times?
As a resident of the CMDHB catchment area, I am concerned that the delivery of healthcare is far from satisfactory. Long, unexplained and inexcusable delays occur in treating patients affected by Cancer. There is a long wait list of patients to receive proper treatment.
Diabetes, Obesity, cardiovascular diseases are among the issues that are affecting a large section of our resident population.
Type II Diabetes is on the rise and therefore requires urgent attention.
Our Asian communities are expected to grow rapidly over the next 15 years.
It is important that we understand and address health issues that specifically affect these communities.
Asian women have a higher rate of contracting the virus that causes cervical cancer and many do not understand the link between the virus and the cancer.
Young Asian women are less likely to participate in the new Cervical Cancer Vaccination Programme.
Breast screening rates are low.
International research shows migrant women tend to present with more advanced breast cancers and are more likely to have a mastectomy.
In particular, women in our Indian communities have higher levels of cardiovascular disease and are less likely to take part in screening programmes for breast and cervical cancers, as well as lower rates accessing health services.
Patients should be at the centre of all health services.
Better access needed
We want to ensure better access to healthcare, which is why we are providing more funding into frontline health.
I am a candidate for CMDHB and if elected, I will work with the officials to ensure appropriate utilisation of assets to optimise benefits to the resident communities and prepare a good Health Plan that takes into account future needs.
The District Health Board should also have strategic plans for early and effective treatment of cancer patients. Delays in treatment will not only be risk to the health of people but also erode their faith in the system.
Reducing waiting time
I will also work with the concerned to try and improve the complement of doctors, medical specialists, nurses and other staff to reduce the waiting time in hospitals.
Obesity is a major problem in New Zealand and Counties Manukau District is no exception. Our young men and women should be encouraged to lead healthy, active lives, following healthy food habits. Education is the key to success.
As a member of CMDHB, I will initiate good education programmes for our young people at schools so that they become aware of health issues early in life.
Narinder Singla is a candidate in the ensuing Papatoetoe Local Board and Counties Manukau District Health Board elections.