Dr Monica Liva (pictured) sits down with MAU Studio about her experience as a GP at Turuki Healthcare and how her patients influenced her to advocate for more socially and environmentally connected homes in Maangere.
"I've been a GP for over 13 years and have lived in Maangere for nearly 40 years. As a GP in Maangere, I have patients who live in all sorts of housing – from emergency housing to social housing to families renting or owning their own homes. I can hear first hand how living situations affect the health of our families. For example, the health impacts of overcrowding and damp homes can lead to health conditions such as skin infection, asthma and alarmingly high rates of rheumatic fever equivalent to that of third world countries. Stressful environments can lead to our elderly patients not prioritising their health plans. So, for a while, it felt like I was working at the bottom of the cliff and not influencing much of my patient's life outside the clinic room.
So, when the opportunity to join the Maangere Housing Advocacy Group came up, I saw it as a chance to learn more about the Kāinga Ora housing developments to better inform our community and my patients on housing initiatives across Maangere. Part of my role in the Advocacy Group is to share other health services that can support families to create more stable home environments. Our environment from housing to education in schools and local eateries, are important social health determinants that influence health outcomes. These areas need major investment to prevent the overwhelming of local health services.
At Turuki Healthcare in Maangere, we have a Sustaining Tenancies team and Health Coaches that help our whaanau/aiga/kainga in Maangere and South Auckland with any housing and health-related issues that may put them at risk. Help is different depending on the needs of the whaanau. It could be supporting whaanau who have drug or alcohol-related problems, helping with financial literacy, and even supporting whaanau from transitional housing into more permanent housing in Maangere. The Sustaining Tenancies programme is like a bridge that connects our whaanau to other organisations locally and governmentally so that they can create more stable and healthier homes.
Being part of the Advocacy Group allows me to amplify the voices of our whaanau who want to live here long term in Maangere. My family has been in Maangere for three generations, and my parents still live here. I wouldn't want my parents or other families displaced because they couldn’t afford to live here. I want to ensure that our neighborhood retains our sense of the “275” community and celebrates our cultural diversity. And this sense of connection is vital to our personal and collective health in Maangere.