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Funding to target head lice in low decile schools

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development

8 May 2014

Funding to target head lice in low decile schools

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says the nation’s nits epidemic will come under attack thanks to a new Government initiative to provide free head lice treatment to families in low decile schools.

Mrs Bennett joined KidsCan at Russell School in Porirua today to announce that the Government is providing funding of nearly $1 million through the Ministry of Social Development to KidsCan to tackle nits.

“Although nits are found in all schools, children from low-decile schools, and particularly their parents, could use help in dealing with nits,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Treatment can typically cost $30. Combine that with several heads in the household and the problem becomes extremely expensive. This initiative will allow for whole families to be treated if necessary.

“It can be a struggle for some families to keep on top of infestations. We hear of children having their heads shaved and severe scalp infections where unsuitable treatments are used.

“This funding will provide as many treatments as is needed for families to get on top of the problem,” says Mrs Bennett.

Each school will have a special chair installed – similar to that at a hairdressers – and enough combs and bottles of treatment to destroy the relentless vermin.

Schools in Christchurch, Kaitaia, Opotiki, Ruatoria, Taumaranui, Porirua and Hastings will be the first to roll out the treatment that will be extended to 117 low decile schools nationwide.

Mrs Bennett says the initial rollout will cover 24,000 children.

“Nits are persistent and expensive. I’m delighted that with the help of KidsCan, we can provide relief to thousands of young heads while taking a major financial burden off parents,” says Mrs Bennett.

ENDS

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