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 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.
Healthy eating, being physically active and advocating the smokefree lifestyle are also important focuses for the staff at the Greymouth office. Significant work is currently targetted at promoting healthy ageing to the region’s older people, through initiatives around physical activity and injury prevention.
As partners in Active West Coast, Community and Public Health work with District Councils to improve and promote opportunities for physical activity. The Grey District Aquatic Centre 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 also a Community Health Information Centre, providing a range of health education resources from the Ministry of Health and other providers.
New report on young people and alcohol on the West Coast
This report summarises the findings from the West Coast student alcohol survey and the West Coast adult alcohol survey completed between March and May 2017. Local data was collected to raise awareness across the West Coast on any issues relating to alcohol use by young people.
It is hoped that the report will inform future planning by schools and that young people will be supported to make use of the report’s findings in their studies and school projects. The report should also be useful to a wide range of community groups and agencies working to reduce alcohol-related harm in West Coast communities.