MELAA report summary.
Subject: African Americans (Health aspects)
African Americans (Social aspects)
Latin Americans (Health aspects)
Latin Americans (Social aspects)
Author: Mortensen, Annette
Pub Date: 04/01/2011
Publication: Name: Nursing Praxis in New Zealand Publisher: Nursing Praxis in New Zealand Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Nursing Praxis in New Zealand ISSN: 0112-7438
Issue: Date: April, 2011 Source Volume: 27 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 290 Public affairs
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 276901000
Full Text: This report was commissioned by the Auckland District Health Board on behalf of the Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy Health Steering Group which represents Waitemata, Auckland and Counties Manukau District Health Boards.

The Middle Eastern, Latin American and African Health Needs Assessment (MELAA HNA) (Perumal, 2010) is the first and only report to present MELAA population health trends in New Zealand. The MELAA ethnicity grouping consists of multiple diverse cultural, linguistic and religious groups from refugee and migrant backgrounds. In the 2006 census, 1% of the New Zealand population identified as MELAA and half resided in the Auckland region. Today, 28,637 people in Auckland identify as being MELAA; approximately 14,000 are Middle Eastern; 3000 are Latin American; and 11,000 are African. This group is one of the fastest growing population groups and has unique health needs.

MELAA groups face significant barriers to accessing health care including: language and communication difficulties; health illiteracy in some groups; the cost of health care; a lack of cultural understanding by Health Service Providers; and poor understanding of the New Zealand health system, and, for some groups, of Western health care models.

Of the three groups, Middle Eastern peoples are the largest group in the Auckland region. The report shows the need for targeted diabetes and cardiovascular disease preventive strategies. Better access to womens' health, and primary oral health services in adults and children is also a key priority for Middle Eastern groups. African peoples are the second largest MELAA group in Auckland. The report highlights the need for targeted diabetes prevention strategies for African groups, along with improved access to screening services, womens' health services, and better access to oral health care. Latin American peoples make up the smallest proportion of the MELAA group. The rising prevalence of diabetes and heart disease in all three MELAA populations may indicate the acculturation effects of changes in diet, nutrition and physical activity that are associated with residence in New Zealand.

The findings of the study indicate the need to include MELAA groups in CVD/Diabetes screening, prevention and management programmes. The importance of ethnic and religious communities in health service consultation and planning processes is highlighted. The need for cultural competency training for the health and disability workforce, including how to work with interpreters, is also highlighted.

Dr Annette Mortensen, RN PhD Project Manager: Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy, Migrant and Refugee Health Action Plan Northern District Health Board Support Agency, Auckland
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