Otara’s largest Pacific health provider has partnered with Pacific churches in Auckland to offer support to families.
The South Seas Healthcare Clinic in Otara said the on-going effects of the pandemic continues to impact the Pacific community.
Its chief executive, Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo, said during the recent Covid-19 resurgence in Auckland, South Seas supported seven churches – two of them had families who had tested positive for Covid-19 and linked to the city’s cluster.
Lemalu said the partnership is crucial because it allows them to engage with families quickly, provide immediate support and share updated health guidelines.
“Our churches are in a position to support families. They have a relationship with the youth. You’ve got men’s groups, you’ve got women’s groups so it’s really important that health providers especially the community are really working closely in a more unified way to support our families during this difficult time.”
“We are also thinking of new ways to engage with these families and not wait for families to approach and engage with us,” Lemalu said.
He praised the efforts of the churches who had reached out for help and requested testing for their congregation. The clinic tested more than 400 members of four churches in Auckland.”
“The ministers have become facilitators for their churches and have played a key role,” he said.
“They know their congregation and know what kind of support they need.”
Lemalu said Pacific health providers would need to continue to work with their churches.
“During the first lockdown, there was a need for basic urgent support which is mainly around food packages,” he said.
“Now what we are seeing are the social determinants coming into effect such as loss of employment and housing issues.”
“These longer-term issues will be compounded by the current crisis and will therefore change already strained family dynamics,” he said.
“So, we will continue to provide support and work with our community groups and churches, to ensure our Pacific families are safe and cared for.”