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Prioritisation Of Infectious Disease

Prioritisation Of Infectious Disease Will Help Focus Use Of Resources

A document which seeks consensus on the key action areas to reduce the impact and incidence of infectious disease in New Zealand, has been released for consultation.

The "Integrated Approach to Infectious Disease" seeks the input of people working in the area of infectious disease on the priority areas for action at national and local levels over the next five years.

Ministry of Health Deputy Director General Public Health, Dr Don Matheson said the discussion document will contribute to development of an approach, which will identify key policy priorities for the Ministry of Health, and help guide funding of infectious disease programmes by Ministry of Health, District Health Boards and providers.

"Infectious diseases are an important cause of unnecessary death and illness in New Zealand. They account for six per cent of the deaths in New Zealand, making them the fourth major category of cause of death after cardiovascular disease, cancer and death from injury. They also constitute 12 per cent of admissions to New Zealand hospitals.

"We recognise that the Ministry of Health, District Health Boards and other Government agencies already have a number of programmes in place to deal with infectious disease, but with agreement on priority action areas, we will be able to make a greater impact and reduce the incidence of infectious diseases.

"The Integrated Approach to Infectious Disease" will provide a guide outlining the key priority areas where the Ministry of Health and DHBs can direct their funding to make the greatest impact on reducing the incidence and impact of infectious disease."

Dr Matheson said it also recognises that determinants of health often lie outside the direct control of the health sector.

"The social and economic environment do play a crucial role in the distribution of infectious disease within communities. Addressing infectious disease problems therefore requires the coordinated action from many sectors, including housing and education.

The "Integrated Approach to Infectious Disease" will recognise the role of other agencies. It will offer guidance for inter-sectoral action and policy development for other central and local government agencies.

"If we are to really make an impact and reduce the incidence of infectious disease in New Zealand we all need to work towards a common goal and ensure the resources are used to their best effect."

The document is available on the Ministry of Health Website; Submissions can be made in writing, or by email to Nicola Chapple, Ministry of Health, 133 Molesworth Street, Thorndon , fax 04496 2340 and e-mail Submissions close on 31 July.


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