December 09, 2012
Infant deaths tough to tackle
A Health Ministry report on the health status of Māori children has found mixed progress.
While hospital admissions are dropping for meningococcal disease, infant mortality and some types of injuries, they continue to rise for acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, serious skin infections, asthma and acute upper respiratory tract infections, pneumonia and whooping cough.
Between 1996 and 2005, Māori children were admitted to hospital with acute rheumatic fever ten times higher than for the rest of the population.
Sudden unexplained death in infancy is almost six times higher in Māori than non-Māori.
Associate health minister Tariana Turia says the report shows more needs to be done across the health sector.
She says health can’t be dealt with in isolation from issues like education, employment and housing, and all government agencies need to work in collaboration with health professionals to tackle problems like the number of families living in damp, cold or over-crowded homes.
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