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South Auckland Influenza - closing the Gaps

1 April 2000

South Auckland Influenza Campaign – Closing the Gaps

A mobile health campaign to protect Pacific elders against influenza will help close health disparity gaps, the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Mark Gosche said today.

"Influenza hits Pacific elders particularly hard. The Winter months sees many of our older family members suffering first from the 'flu and then from additional complications such as asthma and bronchial illnesses," said Mr Gosche.

This drive will help families to look after and protect our parents and grandparents from illnesses that can be prevented."

The South Auckland Influenza Campaign is run by Otara's South Seas Healthcare team with support from the Health Funding Authority. It is the first stage in a wider project between community health providers and health authorities to meet the unique needs of South Auckland families.

Three mobile teams of Pacific doctors and health professionals have already begun visiting South Auckland churches offering free influenza vaccinations for elders. For other family members the 'flu shots cost $5 – some of the cheapest in the country.

Mr Gosche said the uptake so far had been tremendous and he commended South Auckland churches and ministers for lending their support to the campaign.

"For many Kiwis the 'flu is merely a seasonal illness but for many Pacific families the 'flu has serious health implications," he said.

This campaign shows how our communities can work with health authorities to help close disparity gaps."

Medical evidence from South Auckland shows that vaccinating Pacific elders against influenza prevents hospitalisation by more than fifty percent – and reduces deaths by nearly seventy percent.

"What better proof do we need than knowing that our elders have a seventy per cent better chance of surviving the Winter months if they have a 'flu shot," said Mr Gosche.

Venue: Otara Recreation Centre (next to the Otara Flea Markets)
Date: Saturday 1 April 2000
Time: 11am

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