Dr Ashraf Choudhary
There is a general perception that Middlemore Hospital (in South Auckland) is over-crowded, has long patient waiting lists, doctors and nurses are overworked, and for many patients, parking is a nightmare and expensive.
This reflects the state of affairs of health facilities in South Auckland, which generally represents a low socio-economic base and education in our region.
Diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases are rampant due to obesity.
Asian Health Issues
There is a slow recognition of Asian health issues within Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB) area.
Latest demographics suggest Indian community as one of the largest Asian grouping, with concentration in Papatoetoe, Manukau, Manurewa, and further South.
New Zealand Chinese community is concentrated in Howick and Botany suburbs.
There is little or no recognition of the true extent of some of the health issues and emerging diseases among Asian people in New Zealand.
Language, cultural differences and lack of knowledge of New Zealand healthcare system are often quoted as barriers to receiving appropriate healthcare.
Cultural differences and stigma associated with health issues, confidentiality and cost are also mentioned as barrier to receiving good health care.
Improved competence needed
There is a need to give high priority to Asian people’s health requirements. That requires improved competence of health professionals to deal with these emerging health issues particularly among our new residents.
One of the remedies, inter alia, for such health needs is to have people of Asian ethnicity at both the governance level of our DHBs and at senior executive positions in our health systems.
This is the reason, I put my hand up for election as CMDHB member at the last elections in 2016. With your overwhelming support I got elected onto the board as the first person of Asian origin. It was a great privilege to have my input into the decision-making regarding health issues of our community.
During these three years, I have highlighted at the board level all the key health issues facing our wider Asian community. Furthermore, I arranged many meetings between board members and senior health officials with our community groups to hear the health-related concerns of our community.
Major Policy Issues
I have once again put forward my name for forthcoming elections starting September 20, 2019. My team has put forward major policy issues for the forthcoming term to pursue, if elected. These include (a) Focus on patient health well-being, enhance preventative measures and integration of GP and hospital services (b) Prepare for future population growth and increasing health needs of our diverse communities (c) Meet health targets for faster access to cancer treatment, tackle chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity and strengthen mental health services (d) Support high quality evidence based research to improve health outcomes (e) Enhance staff safety and security, recognise emerging Asian health issues, and tackle transport and car parking issues.
We have chosen high calibre and competent individuals to join our Labour candidates team for the forthcoming election of Board members of CMDHB.
We have a range of expertise among our candidates ranging from medical, legal, research capabilities, policy making and community representation.
I encourage voters to support Labour candidates as a team so that we can collectively respond to these emerging health issues. That can only happen if we have a majority at the decision-making of the health board.
Individual ‘Independent Candidates’ cannot make any impact on their own at decision-making by the whole board of seven elected and four appointed members.
Voting for the CMDHB is by Single Transferable Vote (STV) system.
Please Rank Labour candidates of your choice by giving each candidate a different number between 1 and 7, Number 1 being the highest rank.
Traditionally, voting percentage among Asian voters is low.
Therefore, please ensure prompt and early voting by October 8, 2019 to reach in time for counting.
Every vote counts!
Dr Ashraf Choudhary is Member, Counties Manukau District Health Board, Member, Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board and Former Member of Parliament (from 2002 to 2011) on Labour List. He is credited with a number of initiatives including ‘Diwali in Parliament’ and ‘Eid in Parliament,’ which are now popular events attracting people from all over New Zealand.
RNZ Picture by Claire Eastham-Farrelly