19 May 2017

Better health services needed for Pacific people at risk of heart disease

11:10 am on 19 May 2017

Health services in New Zealand need to do more to help Pacific people at risk of heart disease, according to a researcher.

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Photo: Copyright: beerkoff / 123RF Stock Photo

The Ministry of Health said cardiovascular disease was the principal cause of death for Pacific peoples and cardiovascular mortality rates were consistently and significantly higher than for the general population.

Victoria University's primary health researcher, Tua Taueetia-Su'a, interviewed a small group of Samoan patients and practice nurses in the Wellington region on their knowledge and understanding of cardiovascular disease.

Ms Taueetia-Su'a said poor English skills and lack of understanding on cardiovascular disease made it difficult for Samoans to seek the help required.

She said having more health professionals aware of Pacific culture would help those at risk of heart disease.

"They need more time, not a 15 minute appointment. They need at least 30 minutes to see the doctor or the nurse, so they can go through in detail and also use simple language, simple English," said Tua Taueetia-Su'a.