Here are some community perspectives on health.
A group of Chinese new settlers spoke of their bewilderment when confronted by New Zealand doctors who gave advice without providing a medicinal cure. They felt strongly that the doctor was not doing the job properly.
The Hindu worldview values the interconnection of everything that exists, living and not living. This interconnection has a direct relationship to the health of people and communities. The implications of this are that the western-based mind:body separation is not relevant.
Hindu medicine starts with philosophy and then goes to lifestyle and then to cure, while in the West the cure comes first, followed by lifestyle and then philosophy.
From a Hindu perspective it is important that the patient has faith in the doctor for any treatment to work. It’s also important for doctors to be confident in themselves.
In the Muslim prayer schedule, people pray 4 to 5 times a day at particular times.
Muslim people need a place to pray, together with a place to wash as part of the prayer process.
A Muslim value around cleanliness relates primarily to washing and to food. Toilet facilities need to be designed in such a way that there is easy access to clean water for washing within the toilet cubicle. The design would be similar to a disabled toilet.
Halāl places restrictions on food and requires medicines to be free of alcohol and animal ingredients. This suggests that Halāl and its place in the health of people needs to be better understood.
Many Muslim people would like to take part in the activities of local swimming pools and gyms. They need separate areas/times to do this. Men and women must be able to participate separately or they can’t take part at all.
Interconnectedness is a reality for many Pasifika cultures.
In some Pasifika communities there are practices of pooling costs so that people can pay for medication.
The eyes and emotions of a number of Pasifika communities are used to seeing more colour than is to be found in the ‘corporate office’ type colour schemes of many general practices, for example.
Across many of our communities today the preferred route is traditional medicine. At a later stage a doctor will be considered. Many Pasifika people use a range of options such as prayer for healing within the family, prayer with the pastor or elders of the church (particularly in serious cases) and anointing with oil. Traditional fofō involves the use of selected plant leaves to massage the body. People may also drink the juice from selected leaves, when available, to cleanse their bodies and promote healing.
We wish to have the fear of visiting a doctor removed. This difficulty is extreme for some elders because they cannot speak English.
Many of our people cannot communicate with the doctor, nor the doctor with them.
In some communities the priority is for things other than health.
Many Samoan communities place a priority on funding basic needs, the church, weddings and funerals. This makes sense from a relationships perspective so as the people remain integrated. This is seen as better than engaging in a health and related agency system from which people feel disconnected.
We wish to have the fear of visiting a doctor removed. This difficulty is extreme for some elders because they cannot speak English. Many of our people cannot communicate with the doctor, nor the doctor with them.
A healthy family is a happy family. I need to be happy first and then I can be healthy. There is a strong emphasis on owning solutions. If I don’t own them they won’t work for me. If I do own them I take responsibility for action and demonstrate that I can do it in practice.
Tongan groups would like to talk to health professionals about the strengths and weaknesses of traditional foods that are part of the cultures of Māngere. Both the health professionals and the groups would learn from this.