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Every Child Counts congratulates National

Media Statement: Every Child Counts congratulates National for extending free health care for under-sixes

27 October 2011

Every Child Counts* congratulates Health Minister Tony Ryall on extending free health care for under-sixes.

‘Access to health care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week irrespective of family income can only improve the health of vulnerable young children,’ said Murray Edridge, chairperson of Every Child Counts.

This election Every Child Counts is running its ‘1000 Days To Get It Right’ campaign aimed at persuading politicians to focus attention on the first three year’s of a child’s life in order to lay the foundation of development into a mature, caring and productive adult.

‘The vital importance of those first 1000 days is now well-established in the scientific literature relating to child development. Tony Ryall’s announcement needs to be seen in that context. It’s economic pay-back is in the reduction of costs associated with avoidable childhood disease.’

‘This week respected economist, Brian Easton, has referred to “the international disgrace’ of New Zealand’s performance in providing for our children relative to the other countries of the OECD. Our appalling rates of infectious diseases among children is one of the factors contributing to our law international standing. The government’s decision to extend access to free health care is a significant step in the right direction and we applaud them for doing so,’ Murray Edridge concluded.

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