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Govt wages two-pronged fight against disease


Govt wages two-pronged fight against infectious disease - Ruth Dyson

Acting Health Minister Ruth Dyson said today New Zealand still had much to do to stop the spread of some communicable diseases, but a two-pronged approach was underway.

Ms Dyson said a report released yesterday by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research indicated how prevalent the problem was with infectious diseases such as measles and whooping cough. The report said New Zealand had some of the highest rates of infectious diseases in the developed world, including the world's highest reported rate of campylobacteriosis.

"The report was certainly not a surprise. ESR has been commissioned by the Ministry of Health to undertake research and provide data on an ongoing basis, and that research and data is vital in the fight against communicable diseases.

"The fight is taking two approaches. The first is further research into diseases to learn more about likely sources of the infection, and the second is to use the evidence already available to put programmes in place to fight the diseases.

"This Government is committed to providing more resources for that fight. The rate of immunisation in New Zealand, particularly among Maori and Pacific children, is far below what it should be. We have to do better with immunisation generally, but particularly in areas where there are the greatest health disparities.

"The Government is developing a new health system in which there will be a far stronger emphasis on public and population health than there has ever been before. From the data ESR is providing, New Zealand knows what it has to do. The difference is that this Government has the will to put resources into the fight."

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