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Taking the fight against rheumatic fever into the community

27 May 2016

Taking the fight against rheumatic fever into the community

Porirua parents can now get their children’s sore throats checked and treated at any time throughout the year, free of charge and without an appointment.

As an untreated sore throat can lead to rheumatic fever – which can cause heart damage – Capital & Coast, Wairarapa and Hutt Valley DHBs launched a rheumatic fever prevention programme in 2012.

“A key part of this was carrying out a throat swabbing programme at 12 Porirua primary schools over the past four years,” said CCDHB CE Debbie Chin.

“But sore throats don’t just happen between 8.30am and 3pm on school days, so we need to make sure sore throats can be checked and treated throughout the year.”

The focus of the programme is now moving from schools, to screening and treatment at dedicated clinics throughout Porirua – including Cannons Creek, Takapuwahia, Waitangirua and Titahi Bay. This makes treatment available beyond just school hours.

“Porirua has historically had some of the region’s highest rheumatic fever rates, so we have to make it as easy as possible to get sore throats checked – parents need to be able to walk in with their kids and see a GP or a nurse without having to make an appointment or pay.

“We had a great response to the schools throat swabbing programme, and rheumatic fever rates have fallen – both in Porirua and nationally. We’re building on that by moving services into the community to ensure that symptoms are picked up early and treated before a sore throat can turn into something worse.”

For more information, and a list of sore throat clinics, read the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Plan


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