With the increase of Omicron in the Canterbury region, some of our most vulnerable communities have been struggling to get access to Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).
Pegasus Health decided they wanted to help these communities by purchasing over 10,000 RATs to distribute to community partners and vulnerable groups.
“The Pegasus Strategic Leadership Team and Pegasus Board were keen to contribute to the RAT testing drive in a meaningful way, that assisted groups who were engaging with our most vulnerable populations. Having equitable access to RATs was the key driver in this initiative,” says Michael McIlhone, Director of Nursing at Pegasus Health.
Chief Executive Officer of Pegasus Health, Mark Liddle says that helping these vulnerable communities aligns with our purpose of ‘all people living in Canterbury leading health lives’. RATs were not easy to obtain and were expensive, creating a barrier.
“While RATs were becoming available to purchase, they remained out of reach for many parts of the community due to cost. Cost is a barrier to access so we saw this as a way of removing that cost and associated inequity,” Mark says.
More than 7,000 RATs have been distributed so far, with community groups feeling greatly appreciative, as they will make a real difference for vulnerable populations.
“The RATs help us to further serve our Pasifika community, providing families with easy access to COVID-19 testing and support in reporting positive results,” says Carmen Collie, General Manager of Tangata Atumotu Trust.”
“We are so appreciative that our Christchurch interpreters were receiving free RATs and masks. It’s a great advantage that we now have access to RATs to distribute to the community according to their needs,” says Maria Fresia, Interpreting Canterbury Coordinator.
Pegasus Health have distributed RATs to the following non-government organisations (NGOs) as they were seen as community groups with the highest need: Interpreting Canterbury, Tangata Atumotu Trust, Aranui Community Trust, YWCA Women and Children’s Refuge, Cholmondeley Children’s Centre and Mental Health Advocacy and Peer Support.
In addition, our Pegasus Partnership Community Workers (PCWs) have been provided with several hundred tests to distribute to vulnerable clients they work with.
“Although it is only a small part of the overall distribution programme, it is something tangible that Pegasus Health can do to complement the mahi currently underway,” Michael.