April 22, 2013
Poverty blames for rheumatic fever rise
The Child Poverty Action Group says addressing poverty is the most effective way to address third-world rates of acute rheumatic fever amongst children.
The New Zealand Medical Journal has reported continuing high levels of the disease which is rare in most developed countries, and can cause severe heart problems and premature death.
It found 95 percent of the 114 confirmed cases of acute rheumatic fever in Northland in the study period were Māori children, and 63 of these children resided in the most deprived decile.
In other parts of New Zealand such as Counties Manukau, Pasifika children suffer even higher rates of rheumatic fever.
Child Poverty Action Group spokesperson Innes Asher says programmes like the school sore throats programme don’t go far enough, and the underlying causes must also be addressed.
These include poverty, poor access to health care and household crowding.
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