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Celebrating 500 young mums supported by Local Doctors

Associate minister of health the Hon Jenny Salesa was on hand to help Local Doctors mark the 500th young mum through its groundbreaking maternity support programme.

The Minister was joined by members of Local Doctors' and Total Healthcare PHO's community health team and executive, along with a number of young Pasifika and Māori women who are going through or have been through the programme.


Local Doctors Maternity Services Coordinator Bijal Soni (right) with programme participant Siosi and son EJ

It was to them that Minister Salesa directed her thanks for ensuring through their participation that Aotearoa’s tamariki start their lives in the best way possible.

“My prediction is that this programme will expand to other places in Aoteoroa,” the minister said.  In fact, that is what is happening to some extent with the Hauora Coalition picking up the programme's assessment tool for use within its collective."

MP Jenny Salesa gives a gift bag to a young mum who participated in the programme
ABOVE: MP Jenny Salesa gives a gift bag to a young mother who participated in the programme

As the programme’s founder Ranjna Patel told the gathering, only 10 per cent of the support given to these young women within Tāmaki Health is actually health-related. The rest of the time, Maternity Coordination Service maternity care coordinator Bijal Soni is helping them to negotiate the labyrinth of social, financial and mental health services to access support that is available. 

Total Healthcare CEO Mark Vella - who has provided the funding support for the programme - was also on hand to mark what he called a “wonderful milestone”.

“I am really proud and can say on behalf of my board that clearly South Auckland is the breeding ground for several globally cutting edge health initiatives, including Vulnerable Mums, Gandhi Nivas and our mental health services.

“I look forward to seeing these children in twenty years time, gainfully employed, perhaps enrolled in university, and contributing to our society.”