Across the world COVID-19 has highlighted inequities in health services. Some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others - entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.
World Health Day on 7 April aimed to build a fairer and healthier world by raising awareness of those inequities.
Corrections' health staff play their part to make sure that people in prison have the same access to health services as people in the community.
Health staff at OCF have put together some goodie bags to celebrate World Health Day. The team will be delivering the bags to their custodial colleagues as a thank you for being fellow frontline workers. Their profiles are being shared on social media this week to acknowledge the important work they do at Corrections.
Jo started her journey with Corrections in 2017, and currently works as a Senior Adviser for Mental Health with the Mental Health Quality and Practice Team. She moved to New Zealand from Scotland 20 years ago, where she worked at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow as a Health Centre Nurse.
“I have always wanted to make things better for people in prison, to help people see there are things to hope for in the future,” she says.
Jo’s interest in a health-related career was inspired by her mother and grandfather, who were both mental health nurses. She decided that she wanted to work in mental health at age 17, and 39 years later is proud of all the work she has done to improve the wellbeing of others.
She plans to celebrate World Health Day by watching Netflix with her dogs and eating a bacon sandwich with her feet up.
Alarna is a Clinical Team Leader at Otago Corrections Facility.
When she was younger, she spent some time in hospital, where she was looked after by many kind, caring nurses. However, it was the rude, dismissive nurse who stuck in her head. She decided to pursue a career in nursing and made it her mission to always make her patients feel heard, supported, cared for and informed.
Alarna had a placement with Corrections in the third year of her nursing degree and loved every minute. “The nurses were so kind not only to me, but also the men,” she says, “I loved the work that they did, and the excitement of every day being different.” She has now been with Corrections for nine years.
To celebrate World Health Day, Alarna and her team are having lunch together and sending out hampers to their custodial colleagues to say thank you for working alongside them. She sees World Health Day as a day to celebrate her health, and all those who help provide healthcare.
Rosemary has been working for Corrections as a registered nurse for over 11 years. After moving to New Zealand from Africa, where she was a nurse, and retraining to become a teacher, she decided that prison nursing might be for her and hasn’t looked back since.
For Rosemary, the best thing about her job is being able to change lives through positive interactions and kindness. She works closely with the Health and Disability teams to help achieve the best possible health outcomes for people in prison.To unwind after a stressful day, Rosemary enjoys tending to her garden and spending time with her pets.
Jesselou has been working for Corrections as a registered nurse for over seven years. She is very proud of the work she does at Otago Corrections Facility, and the difference she can make for her patients.
“There is a saying - health is wealth,” she says. “Part of my job is to educate our patients to make better choices regarding their health and seeing them succeed and become proud of themselves has no monetary equivalent.”
Jesselou believes World Health Day is a time to celebrate, recognise and thank our Corrections nurses and other health staff for all the hard work they do. She also sees it as a time for reflection. “World Health Day is a good reminder for all of us to look after each other, even though it’s a challenging time, we can be successful if we all work together as one team.”