Arthritis New Zealand is not surprised by the report from Pharmac showing that Māori do not receive the medication they need to manage gout arthritis successfully.

“We have been concerned for some time that inequity in prescription and dispensing of medication has left Māori behind”, commented Mr Philip Kearney, CEO of Arthritis New Zealand. It is not common knowledge that gout is a form of arthritis that disproportionately affects Māori and Pacific and is a significant health concern for these populations.

“However, our concern is being translated into action in Whanganui,” explained Mr Kearney. Arthritis New Zealand works in partnership with the Whanganui Health Network and the Whanganui DHB to develop a programme to improve the management and treatment of gout arthritis in the area.

A GOUT STOP programme works with a range of health providers, pharmacies, iwi and community groups. The programme includes working with local pharmacies and health practices, providing education and resources and improving the patient experience to improve outcomes for Māori affected by gout arthritis.

This model of community collaboration and whanaungatanga is leading the way in developing a model for managing gout that works. It is hoped that similar models around the country will be developed.

Arthritis New Zealand is also involved in similar partnership programmes in Northland and Porirua and sees such initiatives as the way forward.

“We hope that agencies such as Pharmac and also government will support and encourage these partnership models across the country,” concluded Mr Kearney.

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