Pacific health

Research into understanding the issues, challenges and opportunities in pacific health.

Emerging pacific researchers

The aim of this project is to strengthen a Pacific health workforce of skilled Pacific health researchers at Health Services Research Centre, and the Public Health Services, University of Otago, Wellington (UOW). This funding has funded one PhD and three Masters students’ at the HSRC, as well as three Masters students at UOW. The PhD candidate is completing her thesis in April 2010, while the Masters students will be completing their theses or dissertations in July or November 2010.

Funding: Ministry of Health

HSRC Researchers: Ausaga Fa’asalele Tanuvasa, Aliitasi Tavila, Mili Burnette, Hana Tuisano, Tua Sua

Strategies to address cultural barriers in order to promote healthy eating within the church environment

The debate around Pacific people’s health issues is an ongoing feature within the New Zealand health system. The consensus amongst Pacific and non-Pacific health professionals, researchers and educators is that Pacific people’s health is at risk. Aliitasi Tavila’s PhD research views the health issues from a non-medical perspective as opposed to the usual perception of medical research. The focus is on a holistic view with the intention of identifying underlying issues pertaining to the health problems amongst the Pacific peoples. To address cultural barriers around food, Samoan paramount leaders in Samoa and New Zealand were consulted. Traditionally, they are decision and policy makers.

In addition, Aliitasi has won a post-doctoral award from the Health Research Council that allows her to continue her study around other Pacific nations like Tonga, the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa by examining her PhD findings in depth. Her intention is to talanoa (dialogue) with the Pacific leaders in order to develop a community based strategy to promote healthy eating around the Pacific communities. This project will commence in mid 2010.

Funding

Ministry of Health

Researcher

Aliitasi Tavila

Factors affecting the health and wellbeing of samoan women living in New Zealand during late pregnancy and post-birth

Marianna Churchward’s MA (Applied) research is exploring factors that contribute to the health and wellbeing of Aotearoa/New Zealand born Samoan women during pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. The qualitative research involved a two phase interview process with each woman:

  • in their last trimester of their first pregnancy; and
  • up to 12 months after they gave birth.

The study will explore the expectations and experiences of pregnancy and motherhood of first-time mothers who reside in Wellington. The findings will contribute to the understanding of why Samoan women have low rates of postnatal depression when exposed to adverse circumstances.

Funding

Health Services Research Centre

Researcher

Marianna Churchward

Exploring samoan women’s attitudes towards antenatal and midwifery care

The aim of this project is to look at the reasons why Pacific women present late for antenatal care when midwifery/maternity care services are free and available, to avoid difficulties in the run up to and during birth. Forty in depth interviews have been completed with 20 New Zealand-born Samoan women and 20 Samoan-born women, as well as 10 interviews with midwives and other key health professionals. This project will be completed in September 2010.

Funding

Health Research Council of New Zealand

Researchers

Ausaga Fa’asalele Tanuvasa, Marianna Churchward, Mili Burnette, Hana Tuisano

Samoan women’s experiences of traditional midwifery healing practices: An exploratory study

This pilot study describes the experiences of six Samoan women, seeking and receiving care from traditional birth attendants, alongside medical and midwifery interventions during pregnancy.

Funding

Victoria University New Research Grant

Researchers

Ausaga Fa’asalele Tanuvasa, Kima Fa’asalele

Your health is in your hands: Factors that influence Samoan women’s food choices within a church context

This research is Aliitasi Tavila’s MA thesis. The intent of this study is to formulate strategies to help promote healthy eating within the Samoan church environment by exploring the opinions and attitudes of a selected group of women from a Samoan women’s fellowship in one of the biggest Congregational Christian Churches of Samoa in New Zealand.

Funding

Ministry of Health, 2005–2006.

Researcher

Aliitasi Tavila

Knowledge and use of antibiotics amongst Samoan people in New Zealand and Samoa

The aim of this project is to explore Samoan people's understanding and use of antibiotics in order to develop strategies to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics. Interviews with Samoan people took place in 2005-2006 and analysis and publication of the results is ongoing.

Funding

Health Research Council of New Zealand, 2005–2006

Researchers

Dr Pauline Norris (School of Pharmacy, University of Otago), Marianna Churchward, Cecilia Va’ai, Fuafiva Fa’alau

Your life is in your hands: the impact of food choices on health—from a Samoan womens’ perspective

In late 2005 the HSRC won funding from the Ministry of Health to work with the Ministry to develop the Pacific research workforce. Aliitasi Tavila is working on a project exploring the perspectives of Samoan women about food choices and the impact of these choices on health. The project forms part of her study towards an MA (Applied) Social Science Research.

Funding

Ministry of Health, 2005-2006.

Researcher

Aliitasi Tavila