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Fund to Improve Health Outlook for Disadvantaged Children

New Fund to Improve Health Outlook for Disadvantaged Children

A new programme of interventional research that has the potential to make a significant and long lasting improvement to the health of disadvantaged young New Zealanders will commence in 2016 following the formation of a funding partnership between child health research charity Cure Kids and Perpetual Guardian’s philanthropic services.

The $700,000 fund, announced today, will support innovative projects that focus on four of the leading causes of illness amongst children in deprived communities. In particular they will address recurrent acute lower respiratory infections, health and developmental disadvantage among vulnerable children starting at school, serious skin infections and sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).

The funding support follows the release of the latest Child Poverty Monitor which stated that nearly one in three New Zealand children is living in poverty.

Cure Kids CEO, Frances Benge, says that the four projects had been under consideration for some time and the publication of the Child Poverty Monitor highlighted the need for urgent action in this critical area of healthcare.

“Children from New Zealand’s most deprived communities face multiple risks to their health which include being six times more likely to die of Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI) and three times more likely to require hospital care, particularly due to infectious diseases such as respiratory and skin infections,” Ms Benge says.

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The 2015 Child Poverty Monitor: Technical Report detailed evidence of, on average, 40,000 hospitalisations annually in New Zealand among 0-14 year-olds from medical conditions with a social gradient – conditions that increase in number or severity the lower down the socioeconomic ladder families are.

In response to these alarming and long-standing inequities, Cure Kids, in collaboration with Perpetual Guardian, set about establishing the funding initiative which challenged the child health research community to put forward proposals for investigating community-centered approaches that could result in lasting improvements to the health of disadvantaged young New Zealanders.

Cure Kids’ aim is to not only measurably improve health outcomes for the thousands of children directly involved in the projects, but to provide a robust scientific evidence base to support the future upscaling of interventions nationally.

Perpetual Guardian MD Andrew Barnes leads a company that manages 650 charitable trusts from which it is responsible for distributing more than $40 million annually to various causes.
Mr Barnes says, “Health, and in particular the healthcare and medical needs of children, is a high priority for many of the trusts we manage, and the partnership with Cure Kids to support critical evidence-based strategies to help those children most in need is very much aligned with this priority.
“It is in the interest of all New Zealanders that companies and charities work together to share knowledge and resources and to create programmes that preserve the country we all love and furnish the generations to come with all the opportunities we have enjoyed. We are pleased to be working with Cure Kids to help address the effects of the scourge of child poverty in New Zealand.”

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