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Funding for Pasifika Living with Arthritis Welcomed

Media Release

25/05/2012

Funding for Pasifika Living with Arthritis Welcomed

Arthritis New Zealand welcomes the new $6 million Pacific Innovation Fund, aimed at improving the health of Pasifika people.

Chief Executive Sandra Kirby says gout is a significant health issue for New Zealand’s Pasifika people.

“Gout is one of the most common forms of arthritis, and it is often said to be the most painful. Data from one primary health organisation in South Auckland shows that nearly 15 per cent of Pacific men have been diagnosed with gout. In fact, New Zealand has been called the ‘gout capital of the world’.

“Caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, gout is both extremely painful and highly debilitating. It affects people’s ability to work, play and take part in family activities.

“Gout often occurs alongside diabetes and heart disease, and increased uric acid levels can be an early indicator of other metabolic syndrome conditions. Data from diabetes clinics in South Auckland shows that 22 per cent of their patients with Type 2 diabetes also have gout.

“There are persistent myths about the cause and treatment for gout. Gout is not simply caused by the food you eat and can not be treated through diet alone. Gout doesn’t go away when the pain goes away - it is still in your blood. We need Pasifika health providers to help get these messages to their clients.

“There are effective treatments for gout. People living with gout don’t have to put up with it! However, treatment requires a coordinated approach with early diagnosis and effective collaboration between a variety of health service providers.

Pasifika services are perfectly placed to provide a coordinated service and Arthritis New Zealand looks forward to engaging with pacific services to meet this need,” says Ms Kirby.

ENDS

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