December 2021

Tshirts photos final

Since last November Tui Ora has been able to offer saliva testing as well as nasal swabbing to test for Covid-19.

“We’ve been keen to offer this service to whānau and to our kaimahi for some time. If you are asymptomatic and have already been vaccinated it’s a good alternative to nasopharyngeal swabbing,” says Whānau Ora General Manager Tamara Ruakere.

“As health providers we test our people regularly to make sure they are Covid free so it’s a great tool for us to have access to.”

Unlike nasal swabbing the testing does not need to be carried out by clinicians but can be done by staff trained in the technique – a course that only takes a few hours.

In the past few weeks teams of trained kaiārahi operated a pop-up testing station at the War Memorial Hall in Waitara for anyone in the community that wanted a test.

Tui Ora kaiārahi, Zanita Taylor recently underwent training and said the experience was easy:

“The most complicated bit is the IT system but even that’s not difficult, the swabbing process itself is pretty easy.

“We ask that anyone who is coming in for testing has not had anything to eat or drink, vaped or smoked for an hour, and we need them to produce 1.5mls of clear saliva for the sample.”

“If you do have symptoms then we recommend a nasal swab.”

Rako Science, a private company with its New Zealand based in Auckland provide all of the kit, training and IT and technical support.

Rako employee Tairea Simpson has visited Taranaki to provide training and support to kaimahi:

“The best thing about saliva testing is that it’s non-invasive – it doesn’t hurt, and that results come back quickly and direct to your phone. We say 24 hours for the result but most people get it the same day.”

Chief Executive Hayden Wano says:

“Access to testing and vaccination and planning ahead for widespread community transmission of Covid when it comes – not if it comes – is our focus right now.

“We are working closely with Te Aranga (who work for the eight iwi in Taranaki), Pinnacle Health and the Taranaki District Health Board to stay one step ahead and using the time we have now to prepare.”

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