News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Nurses see health risks of living in squalor

Nurses see health risks of living in squalor

Children and youth living in squalor a national shame

NZNO is very concerned by anecdotal reports covered in the New Zealand Herald on Friday 22 September from a midwife who bravely shared her distress about housing poverty and resulting infant and child illness and unwanted pregnancy as the result of incest. Other midwives and nurses have said her reports are familiar.

Associate Professional Services Manager, Hilary Graham-Smith says this shame is the impact of poor housing and poverty and, limited access to good health care.

“It is well documented that poor housing takes its toll on the health of children. Preventable diseases such as skin infections, rickets and respiratory diseases should not be a feature for any child growing up in Aotearoa, Hilary Graham-Smith said.

“Incest resulting in mental and physical trauma and unwanted pregnancies for young women is an indictment on the conditions in which some people live because of poverty leading to unwanted bed sharing, substance abuse and inadequate accommodation.

“We are speaking out in support of this midwife to let New Zealanders know the mental health and general health risks when people live in cars and garages and in squalor and call on the next government to urgently turn this shame around.

“We agree with and support Women's Health Action maternal and child health manager, Isis McKay that it is important for health professionals to speak out and highlight these terrible situations and the physical and mental health effect on children.

“The new government must get people out of living in cars and damp garages and ensure tamariki are physically and sexually safe. This is not a 100 day aim, this is now, immediately,” Hilary Graham-Smith said.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: The French Dispatch - Wes Anderson's New Yorker Tribute

Very few contemporary American film directors can claim to have earned the title of auteur, but for sheer visual invention and cinematic joie de vivre, there is no more consistent director working in Hollywood today than Wes Anderson. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland