May 05, 2014
More money to counter rheumatic fever
The government is boosting the amount it’s spending countering a disease that is causing heartbreak in Maori and Pacific Island communities.
Health Minister Tony Ryall says free sore throat clinics will be opened later this year by the Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Tairawhiti, Hawke's Bay and Hutt Valley district health boards, targeting a further 90,000 children and young people at risk of catching rheumatic fever.
That’s costing $20 million, bringing the total spent on prevention of the disease to more than $65.3 million over six years.
He says Maori children are 35 times more likely to get rheumatic fever than Pakeha, and Pacific children 44 times.
"We’ve got these drop-in clinics now in south Auckland and Auckland. We’ve had about 1400 kids go through them in the last month, so they’re all designed so that mum and dad don’t think twice about taking their kids with a sore throat to the nurse or doctor because they actually have to be seen and If necessary they get a swab and if it is identified as a strep throat they get some medicine to deal with it," he says
Mr Ryall says there will also be $5 million spent on raising awareness of rheumatic fever, including TV and radio campaigns.
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