Kaitaia medical pioneer wins $30k business development grant

Navilluso Medical Ltd (NML) of Kaitaia is the recipient of the first $30,000 grant of 2015 from the Top Energy Business Development Fund. The money will help the company to develop a remote diagnosis and treatment facility for rural communities across Northland and beyond. 

NML employs 21 doctors, nurses, health promoters and community health workers, all led by well-known community figurehead, health campaigner and New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan. The company operates a general practice clinic in Kaitaia Hospital and, despite competing against well-established and often larger and better-resourced GP clinics, features regularly among the top 20 percent of all Far North clinics in terms of the quality of its health-care delivery.  

It has established the community-based MOKO (Manawa Ora, Korokoro Ora) health service, using a team of healthcare professionals who visit schools around Kaitaia to provide health checks on children.  

As an extension of this service it has developed an iPad application that can be used in schools by trained adults to assess the health of children. These assessments are then sent over the internet to a clinical team at NML who review them and determine whether a treatment plan is required. Treatments are then delivered to the parents or whanau.  

NML intends to grow this programme beyond the Kaitaia district, beyond Northland and even beyond New Zealand.

“We believe that this model of care could create the opportunity to have a telemedicine clinic based in Kaitaia serving the needs of the country and even further abroad,” Dr O’Sullivan said. “Potentially we could develop an entire industry that is new to the district and to the region. That could result in new IT and clinical jobs. 

“There is no reason that Kaitaia could not become the Silicon Valley of NZ tele-healthcare.” 

“The judges liked the vision behind NML’s business,” said Top Energy chief executive Russell Shaw. “It’s precisely the sort of economic development initiative that the Top Energy Business Development Fund was set up to foster.” 

Top Energy launched the Business Development Fund in 2014 as a replacement for the Tall Poppy Business Awards. The scheme is designed to encourage and promote economic growth in the Far North. Grants of up to $30,000 are awarded twice a year for local business ideas or initiatives that have the potential to grow or diversify the Far North economy.  

The money is either awarded in full to a single stand-out idea or in smaller amounts to several initiatives, depending on the number, quality and merit of the applications received.  

14 companies responded to the call for submissions, advertised in local print and broadcast media during April and May. 

Shortlisted applicants made detailed submissions and presentations to a panel of judges comprising a member of the Top Energy management team and two former Tall Poppy Awards judges; Jim Makaweo, business development consultant and founder of Makana Confections, and John Halse, formerly of Enterprise Northland and now a business consultant. 

Application forms for the second Top Energy Business Development Fund grant of 2015 will be available on the Top Energy website from the beginning of August.  

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For more information please contact:

Peter Heath
peter.heath(at) topenergy.co.nz / 09-4074695 / 021-456353