e pā ana ki a matou
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Community and Public Health in Mid Canterbury (Ashburton)
The Mid Canterbury region covers the central South Island between the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers (the Ashburton District), with Ashburton as the main township. The area is one of the fastest growing rural districts in New Zealand, and is becoming more ethnically diverse with over the half the recent population increase resulting from arriving international migrants (2006 to 2011).
Community and Public Health provides services to the more than 33,000 people of this area, and is based at the Ashburton Hospital site.
The small team in Ashburton is made up of two health promoters and an administrator. These staff focus on:
- Working with local Māori to ensure available health services are promoted and accessible to Māori;
- Using the Health Promoting Schools framework to promote healthy food choices and healthy environments for physical activity in schools;
- Promoting healthy nutrition choices and healthy environments for physical activity in workplaces and the community;
- supporting workplaces through the WorkWell programme; and
- Promoting the Smokefree message.
Christchurch-based staff support the Mid-Canterbury region to enforce the Smokefree Environments Act, and provide infectious disease and environmental health services.
The Ashburton office has a small Community Health Information Centre, providing health information resources free to the public.
Ashburton business achieves bronze award on the WorkWell programme
Health Promoter Carly McDowell has focused on supporting workplaces to sign-up to and implement the WorkWell programme. Ashburton Contracting Ltd (ACL) is a major employer in the Ashburton district and has become the first company in Ashburton to achieve the WorkWell Bronze Accreditation award through creating a happier, healthier and more productive workplace.
The WorkWell programme provided ACL with the tools to assist in ensuring a healthy working environment for staff. ACL have already completed a smokefree challenge – supporting staff to quit smoking and supplying prizes for those who did. One staff member who quit smoking and is still smokefree was awarded a weekend in Hanmer Springs.
ACL’s first three priority areas are Healthy Eating, Smokefree and Mental Health. Staff had a thought-provoking session with Mike King during Mental Health Awareness Week in October 2018. ACL will continue an organisational focus on Mental Health and plans to address Healthy Eating this year.