Long nights without power and cutting food budget

10 May 2018

Naoupu Tupuivai at the Alliance Health + Awards with SouthSeas staff and Hon Jenny Salesa

Late last year the Alliance Health + hosted their annual Awards Evening at the Ellerslie Events Centre, which recognised a range of clinical and community achievements and representatives from across the health sector, with almost 200 people attending.

The awards event featured colourful and glowing successes of good sorts in the health sector but it was Naoupu Tupuivao, a single mother and a client of SouthSeas Healthcare Ltd, who stole the show.

Naoupu did not win an award, but her sobering story of struggle, resilience and determination within the primary health system won many hearts for her bravery and determination.

“I was asked to be a guest speaker and I gave it to the audience. I did not hold back,” says Naoupu.

The teary Naoupu talked about the hardship she went through when her children were sick. She talked of her struggle trying to maintain the health of her children in unsuitable rental properties, due to financial constraints.

“It was a hard time for me and my kids. We live on very little. We budget everything with the little money that we have and we often go without electricity.”

“We can live with minimal food and no electricity, but I struggle to cope when one of my kids gets sick. That is the reason I looked into the health system; to understand it better so I am able to take control of my children's health.”

“With the help of SouthSeas Healthcare through the Whānau Ora programme, we were able to develop a family plan and look at ways to turn our lives around for the better,” says Naoupu.

“I was speaking in support of Dr Andrew Chan Mao, Head clinician at SouthSeas Healthcare, about the realities of mainstream expectations when facing Pacific patients and I was pushing for a better cultural awareness programme to gain a better understanding of people from other cultures.”

“I spoke about who I was and shared the hardship of being a single parent, and how a Pacific health provider like SouthSeas Healthcare saved my sons life.”

“I was a patient in mainstream healthcare and they had turned my eldest son away when I asked for further investigation of his ear, I desperately came into SouthSeas for the first time and was seen by Dr Chan Mao who took care of my son’s life.”

The extent of deprivation for Pacific families’ means there is a need for more Pacific health providers who understand their issues and problems, and to avoid embarrassment.

Naoupu’s story was the highlight of an important and amazing achievement of SouthSeas Healthcare as a Pacific health provider and a reminder why there are Awards such as these, to recognise the contribution of health providers and individuals who have gone up and beyond their call of duty.

Following this event, Naoupu has received many more requests from other organisation to be a guest speaker and share her story so many more can understand the realities of Pacific families struggling within the health system.

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