We were surprised to hear Otago University researchers say infectious diseases caused by overcrowded living conditions, such as rheumatic fever, have reached extraordinarily high levels among Maori.
While the rate of infection is falling among people of European descent, Professor Phillipa Howden-Chapman, who is deputy head of the university’s department of health, says it is climbing at an alarming rate among Maori and Pacific island populations.
She told Waatea News has resulted in a 26% increase in acute hospitalisations for respiratory and infectious diseases over the past two decades.
The rate of rheumatic fever for Maori is 13 times higher than European, since early 1990s.
Professor Howden-Chapman said the answer lies in improving the number and quality of houses.
We hope to follow this korero up and will report back in a few weeks.