e pā ana ki a matou
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Community and Public Health on the West Coast (Greymouth)
Nearly 33,000 people live in the Buller, Grey and Westland Districts – a 400 km long region between the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This makes the West Coast/ Te Tai Poutini one of the most sparsely populated regions in New Zealand. The remote nature of many small and isolated communities poses specific health challenges around sewage treatment and disposal, and potable water.
The natural beauty of the area attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, largely during the spring and summer months. This level of tourist activity carries some environmental risks for recreational water contamination and infectious diseases, especially in popular destinations such as Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and Punakaiki. The predominantly young and transient population of tourists and those employed in the tourism industry creates concerns around safe sexual behaviours and responsible alcohol use.
Enabling wellbeing and equity of outcomes for everyone on the West Coast
The health promotion team supports improving and maintaining the health and wellbeing (hauora) of West Coasters by connecting communities and supporting the creation of healthy and sustainable environments (including early childhood education and schools). Current initiatives focus on:
- mental wellbeing;
- Māori health;
- healthy eating;
- physical activity;
- healthy ageing and injury prevention;
- supporting smoke-free environments; and
- working alongside key stakeholders to reduce alcohol related harm.
Community and Public Health is a partner in Active West Coast – working with District Councils to improve and promote hauora on the West Coast. The Westland Recreation is open and well used by the community, and major developments are occurring in Buller and Westland as part of their new physical activity strategy. Staff are also contributing to the development of a region-wide walking and cycling strategy.
The Greymouth office has a Community Health Information Centre, providing a range of health education resources from the Ministry of Health and other providers.
COVID-19 vaccinations on the West Coast
Updated 21st June 2022
The West Coast DHB is scaling down the number of mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, now that most West Coasters are fully vaccinated. Free COVID vaccinations are also now available in many pharmacies, general practices and rural health clinics.
All eligible people (aged 5 years of age or older) can get their COVID vaccine shot.
It is recommended that you make a booking so you don’t have to wait. Drop-ins are limited due to the additional time it takes to vaccinate children – meaning fewer people can be vaccinated at each clinic.
91.1 percent of the West Coast’s eligible population (12 years and over) have had two COVID-19 vaccine doses. 72.3 percent of those aged 16 years and over have now had a booster dose.
“Thank you to all West Coasters who’ve rolled up their sleeves and got vaccinated. It has been no mean feat especially given the geographical spread of our Coast communities from Karamea to Haast,” says Philip Wheble – West Coast DHB’s Senior Responsible Officer for the COVID-19 response.
Government supports Buller flood recovery and longer term resilience
Beehive media release: 23rd June 2022
The Government is continuing to support the Buller district to recover from severe flooding over the past year, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today during a visit with the local leadership.
An extra $10 million has been announced to fund an infrastructure recovery programme – bringing the total Government recovery package for Buller to $100 million.
“This additional funding will help Buller District Council to restore damaged infrastructure including repairing Westport Port wharf and flood protection reinstatement, dredging the Buller River, and helping flood-hit communities to get back on their feet,” Kieran McAnulty said.
“It’s an investment that will help the region to get beyond basic recovery and into a phase of longer term resilience, which is important given the increasingly frequent and severe weather events caused by climate change.
“This work also underscores the importance of the Government’s proposed National Adaptation Plan, which looks to support communities to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, as well as a review of local government to support them into the future
“The funding goes beyond the Government’s usual financial support arrangements due to the unique set of circumstances faced by the Buller community, which lacks the resources and ratepayer base required for a recovery of this scale.
“Buller has been dealt a rough blow with two serious flooding events in two years and I appreciated the opportunity to thank those who have supported their communities so well and to hear where the Government can continue to support the district,” Kieran McAnulty said.