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Health Conference demonstrates health inequalities

Turia shocked that Public Health Conference demonstrates health inequalities still evident

“The health of mature and civilised nations is measured by the health status of its most vulnerable groups” was a key message emerging from the Public Health Conference held in Wellington this week, said Tariana Turia, Co-leader of Maori Party.

“It is appalling that participants at that conference were presented with papers reporting that inequalities are still evident within our population”.

“It is ironic that while some politicians are labelling targeted interventions as problematic because they are race-based, that those same politicians are not standing up to comment on the race-based inequalities in health status that existed in the first place”.

“I am particularly concerned about the diabetes epidemic amongst certain population groups. Diabetes presents a significant health challenge for Aotearoa and must be a major priority for health investment. Questions have to be asked as to the prevalence of diabetes in Maori and Pacific populations as to why it is three times higher than among all other New Zealanders”.

“We must see an equivalent level of investment in diabetes as we do with other serious health conditions in Aotearoa, such as the current meningococcal b programme”.

“The Government must provide quality primary health care to all peoples and it must address issues of poverty. If the system is not going to provide gold standard treatment for all our people, including Maori and Pacific people, the ability to maintain well-being is limited”.

“Gold standard treatment means effective health access such as advising known diabetics of their entitlement to a free annual check up for their feet, eyes and kidneys”.

“Gold standard treatment also means providing full and comprehensive information. For example, in the area of meningococcal b vaccine, at a personal level as a family, we did not immunise our grand-children. I fully acknowledge it is a serious disease, and we took our responsibility very seriously about the best options before us in preventing this disease. We looked at all the information and we made a conscious choice not to immunise. I respect the right of any New Zealander to make informed health choices and a quality system would provide ample information to assist such decisions”.

“The key to quality health outcomes is access to treatment, prevention and health maintenance, comprehensive information, and whanau support”.

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