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20,000 children now saying ‘ahh’ to prevent rheumatic fever



Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health


26 October 2012 Media Statement
20,000 children now saying ‘ahh’ to prevent rheumatic fever

20,000 New Zealand children at 125 schools are now saying ‘ahh’ as part of the Government’s rheumatic fever prevention programme.

“The programme is being rolled out to 34 South Auckland schools, with Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara starting school-based sore throat clinics this week,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

“By February next year, over 41,000 children at 191 schools are expected to be part of the programme which treats a child’s sore throat before it progresses into rheumatic fever.

“The previous government said in 2001 that reducing the impact of rheumatic fever was a priority. It failed – rates for this largely preventable third world disease have actually increased in the past ten years,” says Mr Ryall.

“The National-led Government has made reducing rheumatic fever rates a priority. Reducing the incidence of this serious disease is one of the Prime Minister’s better public service targets to support vulnerable children.

“We have committed $24 million to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000 people by June 2017.”

The rheumatic fever prevention programme is in place in the most vulnerable local communities of eight areas – Northland, South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Tairawhiti, Hawke's Bay and Porirua.

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