Uruora is a digital solution created by Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu that support whānau to access telehealth services. Telehealth uses digital technology to deliver healthcare services, making it a more convenient option for both doctors and patients, particularly whānau living in rural or isolated communities. It has become increasingly popular, and these days it is often easier to use telehealth services than to get an appointment with your GP – provided you have an internet connection and access to a device.
Uruora was created to address the digital divide within Te Waipounamu, by making sure that Māori, Pasifika and rural communities have equitable access to these services.
In this video, we get to know Alexis Manera, the Whānau Ora Navigator at Ōnuku Rūnanga, as well as some of the whānau she works with in Akaroa. Their stories show us the profound impact of the Uruora initiative as it works to eliminate disparities for isolated whānau members, bringing them closer to essential healthcare services and the broader community.
The word ‘uru’ signifies connection, or to be a part of something, while ‘ora’ stands for health. Uruora is a whānau-centred approach, providing a sense of connection and care and enabling improved healthcare access. It does this by providing digital devices and mobile plans through our partnership with Spark NZ, as well as running wānanga and mobilising our Whānau Ora Navigators to ensure whānau are ready to engage with telehealth providers.
Projects Support Martin Conway says that for those whānau who typically rely on others for transport to attend medical appointments, telehealth allows for consultations from home. Some of the whānau currently participating in Uruora experience anxiety when leaving familiar environments, so an additional benefit of Uruora and being able to engage professionals from the comfort of home, is a reduction of anxiety for some. Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has been able to support over 240 whānau since Uruora was established in early 2022.