Teaming up to save lives

Counties Manukau and Waitemata have joined forces to deliver a bowel screening education workshop for the Chinese community in Pakuranga which can save lives.

With the uptake of the National Bowel Screening Programme within our Asian community found to be low, the two districts have come together under the Te Whatu Ora umbrella to host education sessions and better utilise resources.

Health promoter from Te Whatu Ora – Waitemata, Jun Li, played a crucial role in the programme.

“For many, language is a barrier, so hosting these education sessions helps those who aren't aware free programmes like this exist with one participant telling me her friend died from bowel cancer, and this talk let her know the importance of bowel screening.

"She's received the kits before but didn't use them because she didn't understand what it was, but now she's keen on doing tests for herself and her husband," says Jun.

Participants enjoyed learning about the programme and took great interest in Bella the blow-up bowel which gives people a peek into what you can expect bowel cancer to look like and how to check for symptoms. 

Counties Manukau Bowel Screening Service Delivery Manager Hasitha Samarasinha says it's vital to do this outreach and improve participation from all communities. It can help find more cancers early, where treatment will significantly benefit our community.

"Our current participation rate within the Asian Community is only 49% for Counties Manukau, so we need greater participation to get the most out of this programme," says Hasitha.

He mentions COVID being a contributing factor to postponing these in-person events but is now hopeful of returning to the community. 

"We're hoping we'll be able to host a lot more education sessions, so we are happy to oblige any groups out there that would like us to get in touch."

“It's a free programme for those aged 60-74 who can get a home test kit and can sometimes pick up changes in your bowels before you notice symptoms.”

It's simple to use, and it could save your life!”

For more information visit to download a brochure.  

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