National | Covid-19 Traffic Light System

Study launched to understand effects of Covid-19

A major study is being launched to understand the impact of Covid-19 has had on the people of Aotearoa by Victoria University of Wellington – Te Herenga Waka. The study will also assess how the government performed during the Covid-19 pandemic and canvass experiences with long Covid.

The Ministry of Health is funding the “The Ngā Kawekawe o Mate Korona - Impacts of Covid-19 in Aotearoa” study. The aim of the study is to survey people aged 16 and over who had suffered from Covid-19 or was a probable case, before December 1, 2021.

Dr Lynne Russell (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitne, Ki Tahu, Ngāti Porou) and Dr Mona Jeffreys, who lead a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the University's Te Hikuwai Rangahau Hauora - Health Services Research Centre, are leading the project. The Pacific part of the study is led by Dr Marianna Churchward (Lotofaga, Faleasiu, Samoa).

“We want as many people as possible to take part in the surveys so we can understand their experiences of Covid-19 and assess the effectiveness of the services they received,” Dr Russell said.

Improving services

As part of the study, a series of interviews with Covid-19 survivors will be undertaken.

The findings will be used to make suggestions to the Ministry of Health on how to better support persons with Covid-19 in the future and improve health services.

Survey questions that participants will be invited to answer focus on four areas:

  • the support they received (and would have liked) when they were first diagnosed with Covid-19, and how the situation affected them and their whānau;
  • their experience after getting Covid-19 and the quality of the health services they accessed;
  • the financial costs of Covid-19 to them and their whānau, and who (if anyone) helped care for them; and
  • Long Covid and symptoms that continued to affect their health beyond the first month of getting the virus.

Covid-19's effects on Māori, Pacific communities, and whanau hau (disabled communities), according to Dr Russell, are a key focus of the research.

Long Covid

Jenene Crossan, Aotearoa's 37th Covid-19 case, is one of four people who have had Covis-19 to advise the research team.

Crossan was diagnosed with Covid-19 in 2020 and has been suffering from Long Covid symptoms ever since. She encourages anyone who has had Covid-19 to participate in the research.

“The more we come together to understand the impacts of the virus on our people, the better we can serve and protect our tamariki and whānau.”

Speaking up “may not be comfortable, but it is the right thing to do and I hope it is rewarding for those who bravely step up,” she said.

Jeffreys said that whatever information participants disclosed to the research team would be kept totally secret.

“We know some people may be reluctant to share information because of the stigma associated with Covid-19 infection. We want to reassure participants that their identities will remain confidential unless they give us permission to release that information,” she said.