10:54am Wednesday 19 February 2020

Research finds Māori women presenting with symptoms for male whānau at GPs

The paper by Darrin Hodgetts, Linda W.Nikora and Mohi Rua “Māori Men and the Indirect Procurement and Sharing of Prescription Medications” considers the ways Māori navigate the health system to obtain and use prescription medications – a significant gap in existing health research.

In particular it examines Māori women presenting the symptoms of their Māori male partners to GPs as a way to get health information and medications, which arose from focus group discussions. The focus group was conducted with seven Māori community health workers employed by a Māori iwi health provider as part of a much larger national study.

Hodgetts says the paper’s focus is the social dynamics surrounding the procurement and consumption of medications that occur within some whānau.

“Presenting with proxy symptoms needs to be seen within the broader context of whānau engagements with health. The participants said that community members know who has what medications and where to go to get them without going to the GP or pharmacy. Daily practices include whānau members prescribing for others and sharing medications.

“Many of the participants were aware of and worried about issues of risk in the prescribing and sharing of medication with whānau members. They did not want these practices to get out of hand, and emphasised the importance of direct contact with physicians. However, repeatedly cost was raised as a barrier that needed to be resolved, also the reluctance to some men to engage with the medical profession,” says Hodgetts.

Physicians remain important to whānau for medication and information, he says, and a rapport between a doctor and Māori patient has been found to be crucially important in overcoming barriers and associated avoidance of medical services.

AlterNative is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal that aims to present indigenous worldviews from native indigenous perspectives. The latest issue (Volume 7, Number 2) contains eight other papers from New Zealand authors who examine concepts of health through a Māori focus. These papers are:

“The blame game: Constructions of Māori medical compliance” – Liane Penney, Helen Moewaka Barnes,Tim McCreanor
“Māori and medications: What happens when the pills go home?” – Linda Waimarie Nikora, Darrin Hodgetts, Teah Carlson, Mohi Rua
“Developing a kaupapa Māori framework for whānau ora” – Erena Kara, Veronique Gibbons, Jacquie Kidd, Rawiri Blundell, Kingi Turner, Wayne Johnstone
“Whānau ora: Hauora Māori models for kotahitanga/co-operative co-existence with non-Māori” – Lisa Chant
“Midwives, women and their families: A Māori gaze: Towards partnerships for maternity care in Aotearoa New Zealand” – Christine M. Kenney
“The Treaty and “treating” Māori health: Politics, policy and partnership” – Paul Whitinui
“Hōmai tō hono: Connecting customary, conventional and spiritual healing practices within a rural-based Māori community” – Rāwiri Tinirau, Annemarie Gillies, Rachael Tinirau
“Mouri matters: Contextualizing mouri in Māori health discourse” – Mera Penehira, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Alison Green, Clive Aspin.

To view the papers, visit www.alternative.ac.nz

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