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Urgent Action Needed To Address Relentless Kidz First Admissions

Dame Valerie Adams calls for public support to donate 15,000 PJs to keep children warm and well over winter.

Middlemore’s Kidz First Hospital has been operating at near capacity with a relentless stream of admissions of children presenting with respiratory illnesses including rheumatic fever, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and asthma, which are no longer confined largely to winter.

Kidz First Hospital Clinical Director Dr Richard Matsas says that he and his team are working with colleagues across the region to ensure that every child needing hospital level care will receive it, but adds, “this winter is likely to be tough for the children in the community. The usual winter viruses are sticking around all year long and winter is only going to make them nastier. As a result, we are expecting a busy winter in our hospitals and community healthcare settings, a trend that is starting earlier each year.”

In response, Dame Valerie Adams, Middlemore Foundation’s Jammies for June Ambassador, has issued an urgent call to procure 15,000 new pairs of cosy pyjamas for children in South Auckland. The Middlemore Foundation’s “Jammies for June” initiative aims to prevent hospitalisations and diminish the necessity for return visits by ensuring children remain warm overnight.

Dame Valerie, renowned Olympic athlete, mum and proud advocate for her community, endorses the Jammies for June campaign, saying, “growing up in the Southside, I understand the struggles families face, especially during harsh New Zealand winters. Supporting the Middlemore Foundation's efforts is my way of making a tangible difference to the lives of those in my community."

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Dr Matsas adds that “we welcome anything that can be done to ensure our tamariki remain healthy, and keeping warm at night is one way to support children’s immune systems to help fight off viruses that come their way.”

Given the pressing need, Dame Valerie and the Middlemore Foundation have raised the campaign target from 10,000 to 15,000 pairs of pyjamas this winter. These will be distributed to every child admitted to Kidz First Hospital and the primary schools supported by the Middlemore Foundation through the Mana Kidz School Health programme.

Middlemore Foundation CEO, Margi Mellsop, says “with the continuing cost-of-living crisis, this winter is expected to be particularly challenging for many families. Every year, too many children are admitted to Kidz First with avoidable respiratory illnesses because they live in cold and damp houses.”

Since launching Jammies for June in 2011, Middlemore Foundation has distributed nearly 100,000 pairs of pyjamas donated by supporters. It also provides blankets, hot water bottles, and heaters to keep children warm.

To support the Jammies for June campaign, people can donate, fundraise, or buy pyjamas by visiting https://www.jammiesforjune.org.nz.

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