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More Being Done To Get Families Immunised

"A more vigorous approach to getting more children immunised, especially those who have been hard to reach in the past, has been worked on to lift the number of children immunised," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"I have been working with the Ministry of Health, Health Funding Authority and others involved in the health sector to improve the immunisation rates," Mr Creech said.

"As Minister of Health it is extremely frustrating that something as beneficial as immunisation, which is free, is not taken up by families.

"We have been developing a more pro-active approach to educate people and on strategies to lift the coverage rates.

"There is no single solution. The National Health Committee's review of strategies for hard-to-reach children is an integral part of getting programmes in place to get more children immunised.

"A number of the Committee's recommendations are already being put in place. The Ministry of Health and Health Funding Authority are currently working on ways to pick up on other recommendations.

"A set of new coverage targets was agreed several months ago to achieve 90% plus vaccine coverage by June 2003, and by June 2004 90% immunisation coverage for children aged 2years.

"There are a number of regional immunisation initiatives that are working well – for example Pegasus in Christchurch and Rotorua GPs in Rotorua. We need more of them.

"The Child Health Information Strategy is currently being developed by the Ministry of Health which will address many of the information issues.

"In addition there is increasing collaboration and co-ordination between health professionals and other agencies involved with families and children like Family Start, Strengthening Families, school and home nurse visiting."

National's Ten Point Health Action Plan specifically identifies immunisation as a priority area to keep children healthy and well by preventing illness and getting them care as early as possible

National is improving children’s access to health services through:
 ensuring all children are enrolled with a primary care/well child provider
 encouraging and supporting the co-ordination of well child providers at a local level
The Action Plan states that National is developing with community groups programmes to address child health issues. Specifically, more work will be done to reduce the rates of significant illnesses and injury, especially in populations of children at high risk of poor health. This includes:
 implementing, in co-operation with other agencies, funding and other policies to significantly increase immunisation coverage rates, with the aim of eliminating epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases

ENDS

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