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Pacific kids at risk of rheumatic fever

Jenny Salesa
MP for Manukau East

Pacific Associate Health

9 November 2016

Pacific kids at risk of rheumatic fever

Pacific children are being left at risk of rheumatic fever and lifelong health issues following the Government’s refusal to tackle the housing crisis and child poverty says Labour’s associate, Pacific Health spokesperson Jenny Salesa.

“Pacific kids suffering from rheumatic fever are showing up at hospital more than double the 2017 target set by the Government's Better Public Service.

“There’s been a 10 percent decline for Pacific patients compared with a 56 per cent drop for Māori. The Counties Manukau District Health Board has New Zealand’s worst rate of rheumatic fever with 37 new cases a year.

“The Minister of Health has had to divert another $875,000 from Vote Health to reduce the Auckland rates. But this Government refuses to acknowledge, let alone tackle, the root causes, which are well-known and include poverty, overcrowding, and healthcare inequality.

“If they were serious about addressing the rate of rheumatic fever in New Zealand the National Government would support Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes bill that sets minimum heating and insulation standards in rental properties.

“Appalling numbers of Pacific children are still living in poverty. They deserve a warm dry home, a decent household income and an easily accessible health system

“This National Government is out of touch if it counts stoats and possums in an effort to control pests but won’t acknowledge the huge number of children in poverty who continue to live in damp, cold, mouldy homes and overcrowded houses, garages, tents or even cars.

“Labour plans to build thousands of safe, healthy, affordable homes for our children to grow up in, to urgently address health inequities and to progressively restore the $1.7 billion cuts to our health system are what’s needed,” says Jenny Salesa.


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