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Fight against rheumatic fever shifts up a gear

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

6 June 2014

Fight against rheumatic fever shifts up a gear

The fight against rheumatic fever shifts up a gear this weekend with TV adverts starting which show the impact rheumatic fever can have on the lives of children and their families.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the adverts are based on the real life experiences of a Tongan family with 11-year-old twins.

“One of the twins, Justin, avoided rheumatic fever when his strep throat was detected by swabbing and he completed a course of antibiotics. However his brother, Tristan, has had open heart surgery as a result of getting rheumatic fever,” says Mr Ryall.

The adverts will start this Saturday during the All Blacks v England rugby test match on Prime TV.

Radio advertisements in English, Samoan, te reo Māori and Tongan have also been developed as part of the awareness campaign. Most of the adverts are delivered by people who have real life experience of rheumatic fever.

“This awareness campaign highlights how beneficial it is to get sore throat checks,” says Mr Ryall.

“Reducing rheumatic fever is a priority for this Government. That’s why we have invested more than $65 million over six years to combat this preventable illness, which includes funding for this awareness campaign.

“The increasing profile of rheumatic fever is raising awareness with families and health professionals, and as a result more cases of rheumatic fever are being identified and treated.

“As part of the Better Public Services focus, the Government has a target to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds by June 2017.”

A preview of the adverts is available on the Health Promotion Agency website: www.hpa.org.nz/what-we-do/rheumatic-fever/2014-winter-rheumatic-fever-awareness-campaign/2014-campaign-materials-and-resources

ENDS

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