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Public Health doctors welcome extra government spending on rheumatic fever
May 2013

The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine has welcomed this morning's announcement the Government is spending an extra $21.3 M to fight rheumatic fever.

College President Dr Julia Peters says the rates of rheumatic fever are especially high amongst children living in poverty and Maori and Pacifica children and these inequalities in health status are unacceptable.

"As public health physicians, we are really pleased to see the government allocate further funding to battle this disease which has lifelong health consequences for too many of our children."

The focus of the new funding will be in Porirua and Auckland communities and the money is to be spent on dedicated clinics, awareness raising, improving housing and further research.

"Many families are living in substandard, overcrowded, cold and damp housing, which all contribute to the high rate of rheumatic fever in New Zealand. It is by addressing the social determinants of health and improving access to health care that the health of our most vulnerable will be improved. This extra funding is a step in the right direction," says Dr Peters.

The Government says it wants to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds by June 2017.

 
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