Water fluoridation in Wellington

Published Thursday 17 Mar 2022

With fluoride temporarily removed from water supplies in Porirua, Manor Park, Stokes Valley, Wellington City and Upper Hutt, we encourage our communities to be vigilant with oral health care at home.

Following on from Wellington Water’s media statement yesterday about Wellington fluoridation facilities in need of repair, we have the following statements to add.

Can be attributed to Dr Kathryn Fuge, Clinical Director – Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service, Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs:

With fluoride temporarily removed from water supplies in Porirua, Manor Park, Stokes Valley, Wellington City and Upper Hutt, we encourage our communities to be vigilant with oral health care at home. This includes brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (spit don't rinse after brushing to get maximum benefit for teeth) and avoid drinking any sugary drinks. Tap water is still the best drink for thirst. If parents or caregivers are concerned about their children’s teeth, they can contact their child’s dental provider or Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service (Wellington region’s child oral health service) on 0800 talk teeth (0800 825 583).

Bee Healthy apply fluoride varnish at least once a year to most children’s teeth. If considered necessary, our service can supplement this on a case-by-case basis.

We encourage people to talk to their dentist or oral health professional for advice about other fluoride products they may wish to use while the drinking water supply is temporarily not fluoridated.

Can be attributed to Dr Stephen Palmer, Medical Officer of Health, Regional Public Health:

Community water fluoridation is a very effective public health measure to reduce tooth decay. This is further supported by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention which lauded community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Fluoridating water delivers health equity outcomes for all regardless of age, ethnicity, education or employment status. This cost effective public health measure helps to ensure that no community has to carry an excessive burden of being impacted by poor oral health. We support Wellington Water to repair the fluoridation facilities, so that fluoridated drinking water can once again be safely provided to our communities.

 

2DHB media contact: Chas Te Runa – 027 230 9571 | chas.teruna@ccdhb.org.nz

Water fluoridation in Wellington

Published Thursday 17 Mar 2022

Following on from Wellington Water’s media statement yesterday about Wellington fluoridation facilities in need of repair, we have the following statements to add.

Can be attributed to Dr Kathryn Fuge, Clinical Director – Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service, Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs:

With fluoride temporarily removed from water supplies in Porirua, Manor Park, Stokes Valley, Wellington City and Upper Hutt, we encourage our communities to be vigilant with oral health care at home. This includes brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste (spit don't rinse after brushing to get maximum benefit for teeth) and avoid drinking any sugary drinks. Tap water is still the best drink for thirst. If parents or caregivers are concerned about their children’s teeth, they can contact their child’s dental provider or Bee Healthy Regional Dental Service (Wellington region’s child oral health service) on 0800 talk teeth (0800 825 583).

Bee Healthy apply fluoride varnish at least once a year to most children’s teeth. If considered necessary, our service can supplement this on a case-by-case basis.

We encourage people to talk to their dentist or oral health professional for advice about other fluoride products they may wish to use while the drinking water supply is temporarily not fluoridated.

Can be attributed to Dr Stephen Palmer, Medical Officer of Health, Regional Public Health:

Community water fluoridation is a very effective public health measure to reduce tooth decay. This is further supported by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention which lauded community water fluoridation as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Fluoridating water delivers health equity outcomes for all regardless of age, ethnicity, education or employment status. This cost effective public health measure helps to ensure that no community has to carry an excessive burden of being impacted by poor oral health. We support Wellington Water to repair the fluoridation facilities, so that fluoridated drinking water can once again be safely provided to our communities.

Youth require more protection from access to vaping products – results from study

Published Thursday 17 Mar 2022

A study conducted recently by the University of Otago and Regional Public Health Wellington has found that despite recent changes to vaping regulations in New Zealand, some retailers are circumventing regulations designed to protect young people from exposure to vaping products and promotions

The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 2020 aims to discourage young people and non-smokers from vaping, and regulate the promotion and distribution of vaping products. The Act classifies vaping stores as either generic or specialist. Generic stores (typically convenience stores and petrol stations) may sell only mint, menthol and tobacco flavoured vaping liquids, while specialist stores are able sell a much more diverse range of vaping liquid flavours.

Following a review of 607 applications to register as a specialist vape store, the researchers noted that 86 of these applications appeared to have been submitted by convenience stores. They visited six of these stores and found five had constructed a new specialist vape store within the footprint of the existing convenience store. These changes enabled the convenience store to trade as a separate specialist store and sell more diverse vaping liquid flavours – such as fruit and dessert flavour options – that appeal to young people. “It’s unfortunate that we’re seeing this kind of development going on, where convenience stores are altering their operation to include a specialist vape store within their retail site,” says Andrea Boston, co-author of the study and senior public health advisor at Regional Public Health.

”Further, as many convenience stores operate with a sole member of retail staff at any one time, it is unclear how the observed changes affect staff members’ ability to enforce the R18 entry restrictions that apply to a vape store,” Ms Boston said.

The study also pointed out concerns around the location and density of vaping stores. Convenience stores are a feature of most residential neighbourhoods, they are often near schools where young people will pass by or make purchases from. “If this trend continues, we could see more rangatahi exposed to vape stores and promotional signage in their neighbourhood. We are concerned this exposure could further normalise vaping for young people,” Ms Boston said.

“We would like to see more controls in place to prevent the ‘store-within-a-store’ setups we observed. We need to balance providing people who smoke with a reduced harm alternative while also protecting people who do not smoke from exposure to products and promotions that encourage vaping experimentation. Our observations question whether current regulations have achieved that balance and suggest on-going monitoring, and potentially stronger policy, is required,” Ms Boston said.

To counter evidence that vaping is increasing among young people who have never smoked, the researchers suggest that vaping products should be sold only in genuine specialist stores, where staff have expert knowledge of smoking to vaping transitions, and where the R18 age restriction can be enforced. Limiting the density of vape stores and where these stores may be located, could also help reduce vaping uptake by people who have never smoked.

Tobacco Journal Article:

Specialist vape store developments during the implementation of New Zealand’s Smokefree Environment and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Act 2020 – Andrea Boston, Lindsay Robertson and Professor Janet Hoek. https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2022/02/27/tobaccocontrol-2021-057123

NZ Herald Article 

The rising stars of rugby league and health promotion

Published Friday 11 Mar 2022

A health promotion initiative that utilises rugby league as a vehicle to promote positive health action to whānau, has achieved remarkable success. The community collaboration is a pilot initiative which has seen the Nga Hau E Wha O Wainuiomata Under-14 Kotiro rugby league team develop as both promising rugby league players and health promoters.

In what could be perceived as cutting-edge health promotion or simply committing to doing the hard mahi – the results are compelling and speak for themselves. “At the heart of what we do is coach and mentor a girls rugby league team and support that on-field training with wellbeing and personal development training, but the health impacts extend beyond that,” said team mentor and Regional Public Health (RPH) promoter Sisi Tuala-Le’afa.

The initiative is a collaboration between Nga Hau E Wha O Wainuiomata, Kokiri Seaview, Wainuiomata Marae and RPH. Through this mahi, barriers to youth participating in sport have been minimised and kotiro have been mentored in health and wellbeing topics, as part of their wider team bonding and culture building sessions. Important public health impact is achieved by whānau seeing their own tamariki shine as role-models of positive health in action, and they in-turn have some exposure to wellbeing messaging through their tamariki.

“It is hoped that by having a young, vibrant health promoter advocating for positive health, in their own whānau, then more members of the family, whether it be their father, brother, sister, aunts and uncles – are supported and encouraged, to make decisions that lead to a long and healthy life,” said coach of the team, and DHB board member Ken Laban.

Regional Public Health (RPH) supported by providing uniforms, boots and training gear which has helped all rangatahi to participate to the fullest, without added stress to their whānau. From there, relationships and bonds were developed through off-field training, which included tikanga and kawa sessions alongside haka and whakawhanaungatanga sessions. An impetus was placed on team members taking pride in who they are and where they come from.

The health ambassador programme and support, covered health topics including managing emotions, physical and online safety, self-awareness and practicalities around being a health advocate amongst your community and whānau. There was also an emphasis on what it meant to represent your whānau and the collaboration partners who were investing their time and expertise into the team. “It was about providing a sense of what it might be like to be a professional athlete. You’re not only accountable to your team-mates and coaches but also to your support partners, organisations and your own whānau who have a vested interest in your performance on-and-off the field,” said Sisi

“It’s been pleasing to see our kotiro take up the mantle to be amazing health representatives in our community. Whether it’s seeing them actively participate to tautoko community events such as the launch of the Delta Buster, mobile vaccination clinic, in Lower Hutt, or just having the confidence to step-in and politely enforce our smokefree sidelines policy at our grounds. It’s rewarding to see that growth,” said Sisi.

With a mentoring focus being applied to build team cohesion and wellbeing off the field, it’s not surprising that the team has accomplished incredible results on the field. The team won the Under-14 Kotiro National Title at the New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) Teina tournament in August. At this tournament, a number of players were chosen for higher honours with seven players from Nga Hau E Wha being selected for the national Māori team and one player selected to play for the national Fetu Samoa team.


COVID-19 testing in the community

Published Wednesday 16 Feb 2022

Aotearoa New Zealand is now at phase 2 of the Government’s Omicron response, and Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs have seen increased demand for testing across all our sites.

Testing is recommended for anyone who is experiencing symptoms, has been at a close contact location of interest – those with a red dot on the Ministry of Health website – or who has been directed to be tested by an official health representative. Sites are prioritising people who meet these criteria.

People who meet the criteria and are seeking a test should do so through either primary care – GPs and community medical centres – or at one of the community-based testing centres open across the region, rather than seeking a test in hospital. While some testing centres may take walk-ins if there is capacity, the best way to help us manage wait times and capacity is for people to book their test in advance. Each community site has its own booking number so please check Healthpoint for details and the latest opening hours.

Capital and Coast District Health Board Achieves 90% of Māori Fully Vaccinated

Published Tuesday 18 Jan 2022

Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) have reached 90 per cent of eligible Māori who have received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which makes us the first DHB in the country to reach this milestone

Hutt Valley is also closing in on the 90 per cent target, with fewer than 672 yet to receive their second dose.

These achievements are the result of collaborative equity drive efforts, led by five experienced Māori health providers in partnership with the 2DHB team and supported by primary health care, pharmacists, and GPs.

Arawhetu Gray, Director Māori Health - Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs says we unapologetically focused on Māori.

“That meant the DHB stepped aside, and we used our strengths and shared that with Māori providers. We said, OK, tell us what you need and we’ll do it.”

Providers built their workforces from their own people, creating jobs and ensuring that the people on the front lines were people that their communities trusted.

“The accolades go to all the people that are on the front line, to those who do it hard every day. It’s our job to get out of the way and make their lives easier,” says Arawhetu Gray.

Read more on the Stuff website - Covid-19: How Capital and Coast DHB won the race to 90 per cent double-vaccination for Māori. By Maxine Jacobs

Strong Turnout at Do it 4 The East - 2nd Vaccination Event

Published Thursday 2 Dec 2021

A festival atmosphere with stalls, music and local artists contributed to a strong turn-out on Saturday 24 November, with 312 doses administered, at the second "Do It 4 The East Vax Fest "event, targeting Māori and pacific communities, particularly youth, in Waitangirua, Porirua.

 

Read the RNZ story here

Photo: Patrick Masoe, Tanisaani Pauta, Logovae Grainger (L-R) Patrick and Logovae received their vaccine doses from nurse Tanisaani. Photo: RNZ Pacific

Community-minded youth play vital role to achieve smokefree law change

Published Tuesday 30 Nov 2021

From Sunday 28 November 2021, it is illegal to smoke or vape in cars with anyone under the age of 18.

For a group of Wellington rangatahi, known as The Hashtags, advocating for their community to get this law changed has been a primary focus for a number of years. The group have been supported by Regional Public Health, Health Promoters, Leah Clark and Sisi Tuala Le’afa, who mentor the group, which was formed in 2010.

“One of our first major projects was looking to get the law changed on smoking in cars with anyone under 18. In 2011, a University of Otago study found that frequency of people smoking in cars in Wainuiomata was 11 times higher than the average in the study. For us this reconfirmed what we already knew, this was a problem in our community, that mostly affected Māori and Pasifika people. We wanted to do something about it through a community response,” said Leah.

Wainuiomata Rugby League Club jumped on board at the time to support the campaign by becoming smokefree and banning smoking on their club grounds. “That was really important for us, because all the time we used to see parents smoking in their cars while picking up and dropping off their kids at league games and practise. What we see now is that kids from the club act as health champions and encourage their parents not to smoke,” said Leah.

From there, The Hashtags continued to promote and advocate for this law change by holding a range of community information and pop-up events, and even presenting to Select Committee at Parliament, in what The Hashtags describe as a ‘nerve-wracking’ experience. “The Select Committee asked us lots of questions, so we could tell they were engaged. We felt like they got the message we were sending,” said Ihaia Waenga, member of The Hashtags.

“Working with rangatahi, I’ve never underestimated them. Our Hashtags are the only youth group that have changed law – from little Wainuiomata. What can you say about that!” said Leah.

The Hashtags continue to meet on regular basis and discuss issues that affect youth and their community. The group is self-led and continue to be leading community voices on issues including child rights, suicide prevention, youth homelessness and period poverty. “What inspires me about The Hashtags as a group and as a concept is there are so many positive health outcomes that are tied up in this mahi. Not only do they influence positive change in our community through health reform and act as voice for youth, but at the same time they’re developing these amazing leadership and critical thinking skills. This helps to lay the foundation for them to go on to achieve academic success in tertiary education and then within their chosen career,” said Leah.

RPH media contact: Ben Hutchison – 027 583 3240

Picture: Founding members of The HashTags in 2012, at the start of their Smokefree cars campaign.

Picture: Current Hashtags team, along with mentor, Sisi Tuala Le’afa.

Youth for Youth

Published Monday 22 Nov 2021

As part of our youth campaign and countdown to summer, COVID-19 vaccine information sessions and events are planned across the region, tailored to young people. The aim is to create some urgency with summer coming up and counting down to festivals and summer activities.

Grace Davies, Rangatahi/Youth Engagement Lead for the COVID-19 response, says she is passionate about creating an opportunity for rangatahi to become more engaged in the health sector.

“It’s important for youth to have a voice, to talk to people they can relate to, be able to ask questions and have their vaccine where they feel comfortable.”

We are reaching out to young people via social media, youth organisations and through information sessions at schools or sports clubs, where people can kōrero about the COVID-19 vaccine and have their questions answered. Being able to hear from experts including a Malaghan Institute scientist about COVID-19 and the vaccine has received positive feedback.

“I found the educational information easy to understand and it was more related to me. I could easily ask questions and I found the session very helpful. I was originally unsure but this information helped me to decide to get my vaccine.”
In some schools, we are working closely with school nurses and the Board of Trustees to provide information sessions and vaccination clinics. Around 80 students were recently vaccinated at Mana College, and we will be offering vaccinations at Porirua College this week, where we expect around 80-100 students.

A series of short selfie videos are also being developed with young people talking honestly about their vaccination journey and their reasons for being vaccinated.

Youth champion hard at work

Published Tuesday 26 Oct 2021

Ngapera Parata, 18, is in her final year at Kāpiti College, and didn't believe she needed to be vaccinated until the recent Delta outbreak put the country into lockdown.

It was her older brother who convinced her of the importance of vaccination, and she was now using a similar tactic in her role as a youth champion working with Māori provider Hora Te Pai.

"Telling our young people that they're important and they matter and they do have a voice is really important, because we feel like at times we don't even matter and nobody cares about us.”

Parata found most young people she knew were getting their news from social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, or from word of mouth.

"As much as you'd like to go 'who the heck told you that?' ... at the same time you can't really blame them because there's no one providing the correct information.

"It's a lot of talking and swaying, it does get tiring at times - you feel like you're never going to get this person to change their mind."

Read more about Ngapera in the NZ Herald.

Photo: Ngapera Parata at Whakarongotai Marae in Kāpiti. Credit: NZ Herald/Mark Mitchell