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Hui aims to change transplant tragedy

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Hawke’s Bay District Health Board hopes a hui this month will encourage more Māori to donate their organs.

Transplant coordinator Mervyn Jones, from Ngāti Rakaipaaka descent, says a shortage of suitable donors is one of the reasons Maori with end stage renal disease have lower kidney transplant rates than Pakeha.

Some of the barriers to donation are cultural values, concern for the wellbeing of potential donors, genetic issues within families, access to primary care, distrust of the medical system, poor health literacy, or financial problems to getting care.

Maori represent nearly 79 per cent of the dialysis population in Hawke’s Bay, but only 12 percent of the 187 kidney transplant recipients in New Zealand in 2017 were Maori.

She hopes the statistics can be turned around by working alongside Māori health services and influences such as kaumatua.

The hui for health providers and community support workers will explore Māori perspectives about organ donation and transplant, including people sharing their lived experience of transplant.

It's at Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga in Hastings on October 16.

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