As the saying goes, the "greatest wealth is health" and anyone who has themselves been ill or supported others, know this to be true.
Covid-19 has thrust healthcare abruptly into the spotlight in 2020 and in the first months of the pandemic healthcare workers, in particular, were regularly – and rightfully – lauded as heroes.
We all remember "Jenny from New Zealand", whom British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of so fondly, and gratefully, after he contracted the virus.
When compared with countries such as the US, where even basic healthcare can be prohibitively expensive, Kiwis are lucky to have access to decent, affordable medical services.
This, of course, is exactly as it should be in any developed country.
But that doesn't mean our healthcare industry should not itself be given a physical every now and then. Over the next week, the Advocate will take the Pulse of Northland.
We have gone far and wide; from Te Hapua to Dargaville speaking with the people hard at work in the sector, and meeting those who use the system regularly.
Beginning today, we look at the impact of Covid-19. We meet a couple who battled it, and learn a little about their life-changing experiences.
We also take you inside Whangārei Hospital, where the very real threat of Covid meant they had to re-think how they worked, and how they would deal with a worst-case scenario.
The impact of the virus has been widespread and its effects are a thread that runs throughout the series.
Tomorrow, we look at inequities in the health system and what they mean for our communities – especially our most vulnerable.
The rest of the week, we cover the services available: mental health and addiction, community-based healthcare. We round out our series on Saturday with an in-depth discussion with Northland DHB chief executive Nick Chamberlain, who will talk about his vision for the future of the region's healthcare.
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As with any large, complex organisation, there are good and bad aspects, but in the course of our investigation, one thing became clear, those who work in the health sector in Northland are dedicated and passionate about what they do.
As always, we'd love to hear what you think so email us at email@example.com.