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Action Needed on Serious Child Dental Health Problem

Barbara Stewart MP
Spokesperson for Health
7 November 2012

Action Needed on Serious Child Dental Health Problem

New Zealand First has urged the Government to take immediate steps to improve the dental health of pre-school Māori and Pacific Island children in the Wellington region.

This follows a report that poor dental health is the biggest cause of avoidable hospital admissions for youngsters in the region, with Pacific Island and Māori children far more likely to be admitted than other ethnicities.

Health spokesperson Barbara Stewart says it is unacceptable that Pacific and Māori pre-schoolers are up to four times more likely to be affected by poor dental health.
“In light of avoidable hospitalisation statistics, it is clear the Government needs to do more to help protect children’s oral health.

“The percentage of children failing to receive their scheduled oral examination on time has grown rapidly since 2009 in the Capital & Coast District Health Board’s area.

“Never has there been a clearer starting point to help keep our children healthy and save health dollars – not to mention the pain and suffering of the youngsters.”

Mrs Stewart says New Zealand First is equally worried that the report has shown such inequality when split by ethnicity.

“This is a very grave issue, and the Government needs to do more to ensure this isn’t another health area with a growing disparity for our Māori and Pacific children.”


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