28 Nov 2014

Big demand for Maori medical grants

2:46 pm on 28 November 2014

Tangata whenua are snapping up grants to study health. The Government says a record 728 students received a Hauora Maori scholarship award this year.

The new Health Minister, Jonathan Coleman, is signalling a bigger focus on sport and childhood obesity over the next three years.

Jonathan Coleman Photo: RNZ / Karen Brown

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said that was the highest number since the scholarship fund began in 2000.

In the medical category alone, 147 students were awarded a scholarship - an increase of 50% since 2009, he said.

Grants worth $1700 were awarded to students studying across a range subjects, including nursing and physiotherapy. Those wanting to become doctors or dentists get $4200.

Dr Coleman said there had also been an increase in Maori participation across the health sector.

But according to the latest Ministry of Health figures, [ http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/health-health-workforce-2013-2014] Maori still only make up a small part of the health workforce.

In the medical sector - which covers doctors and dentists - it was 2.9 percent. For nursing it was 6.6 percent, and representation in midwifery sits at 5.2 percent.

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