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Immunisation rates for Maori children are a success story

15 August 2011

Childhood immunisation rates for Maori children are a success story for the Bay of Plenty region.

Immunisation rates for the total Bay of Plenty region stand at 88 percent while the Maori immunisation rates are currently at 92 percent.

Chair of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board Sally Webb said the achievement is a great example of how a group of determined health providers working together can reach the target.

Director of Nursing for Nga Mataapuna Oranga PHO, Orana Harris said the success rate is attributed to a whole-of-team approach including the District Health Board portfolio managers, the PHOs, National Immumisation Register staff and Immunisation Champions.

“Our nurses, Tamariki Ora, Practice nurses and Tamariki Ora Kaimahi, have been instrumental in making a difference and leading the charge including addressing glitches in IT systems.

“All in all it has been a huge effort, I believe shared awareness of performance has made a considerable impact on our performance.

“To get the Maori immunisation rate to 92 percent is amazing,” Mrs Harris said.

Ms Webb said the Bay of Plenty medical sector needs to keep focussed on getting the immunisation rate across the whole region improved.

“We have outbreaks of measles in regions close by, and as we know, immunisation is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of infectious diseases in our communities.

New Zealand’s immunisation rates are among the worst in the OECD with babies in New Zealand more likely than children in Australia, to contract whooping cough, which can lead to severe pneumonia, brain damage and in severe cases death.

Increased immunisation has been a Government health target since August 2007 and in 2009 the Government made it one of six nationwide health targets. The immunisation target requires district health boards to ensure that 90% of two-year olds will be fully immunised by July 2011 and 95% by July 2012.


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