Health Literacy Project for Bariatric Surgery: He Awatea Hou

Earlier this year Toi Tangata launched a new initiative, He Awatea Hou, a programme which draws on the strength of the whole family to support the journey of bariatric clients. This project is funded by the Ministry of Health, with Quigley and Watts leading the evaluation process. Toi Tangata and the Fono are working in partnership with Counties Manukau District Health Board and Waitemata District Health Board to progress the programme. The aim of the programme is to support the health literacy of clients and their families in two ways; the first is around bariatric surgery and the second is the lifestyle changes that are led and owned by the whānau.

My name is Ora Hohaia and I am the Whānau Navigator support worker of He Awatea Hou. My role is to provide support to clients and their whānau on a whenever, wherever basis. I am currently supporting 20 clients and their families to prepare for their year long bariatric journey, reinforcing the messages and information given to them by their surgeon and clinical teams, to ensure they all understand what is expected of them. This in turn will help them lead and monitor their own progress in a safe and appropriate way with my guidance.

Over the past few months there have been many highs and lows, sweat and tears, patience and energies tested amongst the families as they embarked on this journey of transformation. For some whānau the reality of embracing healthier changes was difficult, but with a few adjustments we were able to celebrate four successful surgeries in June.

My approach to this project stems from my passion to relate to and resonate with people, and to serve and be grateful for one another because if someone were to ask me what the greatest thing in the world is, I would say “’tis people, ‘tis people ‘tis people.”

Tama Tu, Tama Ora, – Through physical wellbeing, we thrive.

Ora Hohaia