Mana Fa’aola Diabetes Health Initiative

23 06 2009

In Australia, the prevalence of diabetes has doubled over the last 20 years, but due to the increased population, the actual number of people with diabetes has tripled.

 The rate of hospitalisation of people born in the Pacific for diabetes complications in 1995-96, 1990-00 was 5 times than people born in Australia (NSW Dept of Health: 2002)

As more Maori and Pacific Islanders are migrating and making their home in Australia, the health problems which have been identified in New Zealand are becoming increasingly evident across the Tasman. Preventable debilitating diseases, commonly associated with long term social disadvantage are highly represented – in particular heart disease and diabetes. (L Rodriguez: 2007)

With Pacific communities in Australia there are often indicators of social disadvantage in relation to health care information and access, as well as issues such as over-crowding and poor primary health care common to low income families. ( L Rodriguez: 2007)

There is a need for specially targeted programmes and as has been demonstrated repeatedly in New Zealand, the solution needs to be whanau or family-based. There would appear to be an urgent need for more research into this area as the Australian government has been criticized for its lack of support and concern for non-Anglo communities in regard to preventable health issues. ( L Rodriguez:2007)

Currently in Australia there is no national body of information or formalized mechanisms for sharing information regarding diabetes in culturally and linguistically diverse community (CALD) groups’ (Australian Centre for Diabetes Strategies:2005).

With that knowledge, Pasefika Life has developed Mana Fa’aola – “Spirit of New Life” Health Initiative. 

Mana Fa’aola is founded on the evidence that partnerships and relationships are critical components to successful health intiatives, as proven in New Zealand.

Mana Fa’aola means “Spirit of New Life and New Beginnings” in Samoan.  This initiative aims to promote and educate our Pacific people towards healthier mindsets regarding Health and Well-being, active lifestyles and healthier dietary options for themselves and our younger Pacific generations.  Also there is a strong emphasis placed upon cultural assimilation into the wider Australian community – whilst holding onto individual core morals and values as Pacific peoples.

For further information about Mana Fa’aola Health Initiative visit:

 http://www.manafaaola.wordpress.com

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