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Meningococcal Message Clear in Manukau

Meningococcal Message Clear in Manukau

Manukau City Council and local businesses have responded quickly to the publicity on recent Meningococcal Meningitis cases around New Zealand. Auckland drivers are being confronted with a huge “Don't Share Spit” banner in an effort to raise awareness of the disease.

Located next to the Southern Motorway on the Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre site (heading north), the banner is a joint initiative developed by Auckland and Counties Manukau community organisations, local businesses and central government representatives.

Sponsor, Te Ora o Manukau - Manukau the Healthy City, says that the “Don't Share Spit” campaign is part of a regional strategy to raise awareness of this disease.

"The Counties Manukau Pacific Trust has donated use of their billboard until 31 July, while Stevenson & Sons is installing the banner at no cost. It's wonderful to see the Manukau community come together so quickly to highlight this disease," says co-ordinator Catherine Manning.

The epidemic of Meningococcal disease began in 1991, when cases rapidly increased to nine times the baseline rate, and has remained at this level.

Meningococcal disease spreads by droplets from person to person, especially from older to younger people, and is most common in winter when families are indoors. The organism can cause blood infection, which progresses to clotting in small blood vessels, sometimes causing gangrene, or meningitis. At least 20 percent of the victims suffer death or serious disability, such as loss of limbs, brain damage and deafness.

The highest rate of Meningococcal disease is in those under one year of age, with Counties Manukau having the highest rates, about 1 in 300 children.

ENDS

Background to Te Ora o Manukau – Manukau the Healthy City

Te Ora o Manukau - Manukau the Healthy City Charter has 49 signatories to its charter representing central and local government agencies, community organisations and local businesses each committing to work together for the health and wellbeing of Manukau’s residents. Manukau City Council is a key partner in this initiative.

Manukau is one of over 1800 cities or communities worldwide involved in 'Healthy Cities' - a project of the World Health Organisation. W.H.O. aims to achieve 'Health for All' by: ¨ Building healthy public policy ¨ Creating supportive environments ¨ Strengthening community action ¨ Developing personal skills ¨ Reorienting the health services.

In Manukau the immediate means of achieving the goals are: ¨ Promoting a team approach to resolving community concerns ¨ Inter-agency co-ordination and resource sharing ¨ Ensuring that relevant data is available and shared ¨ Setting in place opportunities for community expression of interest and need ¨ Organising joint agency/projects to resolve key issues.

The objective is to set in place strategies and processes which focus on the two main elements of action - the development of healthy public policy, and the development of greater community participation in decision making.

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