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Māori doctor to present link between childhood diseases

Māori doctor to present link between childhood diseases of poverty and pokies at international gambling conference

Former New Zealander of the year Dr Lance O’Sullivan will present a key note speech at the International Gambling Conference next week, highlighting the relationship between gambling and the day to day work of a GP in a community affected by diseases of poverty.

"Pokies make my job harder," said Dr O’Sullivan "There is a direct link between addiction to pokies and sick kids. It’s bad enough that we have diseases of poverty in a first world country like New Zealand, but to see them exacerbated by pokies is extremely frustrating. This is the definition of a preventable epidemic."

Dr O’Sullivan is a special advisor to Māori Public Health organisation Hāpai Te Hauora, experts in gambling harm prevention.

Community Engagement Advisor for Hāpai Te Hauora, Kera Sherwood O’Regan will also present at the conference, exploring the opportunities presented by digital engagement tools to support communities to be free from gambling-related harm.

"Pokies and gambling have a massively negative effect on our whānau at all levels, and we know that has to change. What is needed is to equip communities with accessible tools that whakamana and enable them to advocate for themselves, and we are excited to see how social and digital technologies can play a role in that."

Rangi McLean, Hāpai Te Hauora Cultural Advisor and host of Hāpai Hour with Radio Waatea will be broadcasting live from the conference.

The International Gambling Conference IGC2018 is being held in Auckland 12-14 February 2018. Registrations are still being accepted here

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