Maori Health Review

Making Education Easy Issue 47 – 2013

Maori Health Review

The relationship between socially-assigned ethnicity, health and experience of racial discrimination for Māori: analysis of the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey

Authors: Harris RB et al.

Summary: This study examined the association between socially-assigned ethnicity (how an individual is classified by others ethnically/racially) and individual experience of racial discrimination, and socially-assigned ethnicity and health (self-rated health, psychological distress [Kessler 10-item scale]) in this analysis of data from 3160 adult participants (aged ≥15 years) in the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey who self-identified their ethnicity as Māori. Those who were socially-assigned as European-only had significantly less experience of racial discrimination (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.58, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.78) than Māori who were socially-assigned as non-European. Being socially-assigned as European-only was also associated with health advantage compared to being socially-assigned non-European: more likely to respond with self-rated very good/excellent health (age, sex adjusted OR 1.39; 95% CI 1.10 to 1.74), and lower Kessler 10 scores (age, sex-adjusted mean difference –0.66, 95% C I = –1.22 to –0.10). These results were attenuated following adjustment for socioeconomic measures and experience of racial discrimination.

Comment: As the authors say, the findings here are consistent with work in the US; demonstrating the effects of racism on health for Māori, not only in terms of disadvantage, but also the advantages of ‘whiteness’ in a race conscious society’.

Reference: BMC Public Health 2013;13:844


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Research Review publications are intended for New Zealand health professionals.

Variation in the use of medicines by ethnicity during 2006/07 in New Zealand: a preliminary analysis

Authors: Metcalfe S et al

Summary: These researchers sought to determine differential dispensing of medicines by ethnicity in New Zealand, using anonymised prescription medicines dispensing claims data from the financial year 1 July 2006 to 30 June 2007. In needs-adjusted analyses, prescription dispensing (script) rates overall for Māori were similar to those of non-Māori in a small number of areas that included substance use disorders, hepatitis B/C treatments and anti-rheumatoid agents. However, the data suggest important and potentially remediable differences that need to be addressed. Differences in dispensing included areas of high health need such as heart disease, infections, diabetes, mental health and respiratory disease, where dispensing was 19–37% lower overall for Māori than for non- Māori, with a net difference of nearly 1 million scripts. Importantly, Māori were both less likely to access medicines, and then after first dispensing had fewer subsequent scripts.

Comment: I think this research is just so useful as it highlights inequities along the ‘prescribing → taking medication’ pathway, the first and major issue beginning with ‘us’ (non!) prescribers.

Reference: N Z Med J 2013;126(1384):14-41


Māori nurses and smoking: what do we know?

Authors: Gifford H et al.

Summary: Outcomes are reported from an analysis of a national webbased survey that explored the smoking behaviours and attitudes to smoking cessation held by 410 Māori registered and student nurses, as well as other health workers. The overall prevalence rate for smoking was 21.5% – 32% for Māori nursing students and 20% for Māori nurses. Among smokers, 75% of nurses smoke <10 cigarettes per day, 84% smoked outside their homes, and almost 20% indicated they were considering quitting within the next month. The majority who had attempted to, or had, quit did not use the range of smoking cessation interventions available. Māori nurses see the value in smoking cessation for improving their own and other’s health, although many did not necessarily see themselves as effective in supporting Māori with smoking prevention and cessation.

Comment: I found the information that ‘many didn’t see themselves as effective with smoking prevention and cessation’ interesting and something I’ll need to consider in my teaching practice.

Reference: N Z Med J 2013;126(1384):53-63


Maori Health Review
Maori Health Review