National | Health

St John hopes to implement marae CPR initiative

An annual report released by St John has revealed Māori were over represented in statistics for cardiac arrest. St John Medical Director Tony Smith says more education needs to be available on marae throughout the country.

According to Smith, “You're far more likely to have heart disease if you are a smoker, you're also more likely to have heart disease if you've got high blood pressure or hypertension  and also a higher chance of having heart disease if you’ve got diabetes.”

“Māori people have about a 40% higher chance of having a cardiac arrest than non-Māori people in New Zealand.”

Around 5 people a day in New Zealand will suffer from a cardiac arrest, but CPR or a defibrillator can potentially save a patient's life. Smith says, “For every minute CPR is delayed and for every minute that a defibrillator is delayed that persons chance for survival falls between 10-15%.”

St John is hoping to implement an on-marae program that teaches Māori the basics of CPR.

Miria Andrews (Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Mahuta) says, “Our Marae are our hub, they're the centre of our life and particularly in our rural isolated areas we still got a lot of whānau living around marae.”

The St John Marae initiative will begin early next year.