Rural Maori communities in need of more targeted care

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University of Otago researchers at the School of Pharmacy have found that rural Maori are much less likely to receive antibiotics in spite of the fact that they need them more due to far higher rates of rheumatic fever.

Rheumatic fever starts with a sore throat, but can go on to cause permanent heart damage.
Maori in TeTairawhiti, where the study was carried out, have extremely high rates of rheumatic fever. Heart damage can be prevented in people from high risk groups by taking antibiotics for sore throats.

A research group, led by Professor Pauline Norris and Dr Simon Horsburgh from the School of Pharmacy, obtained information on all medicines dispensed in Te Tairawhiti for a year. They matched this with information on patient age, gender, ethnicity and whether they lived in a rural area.

Over a year, 51% of the population received a prescription for one or more antibiotic. Maori were less likely to receive a prescription (48% of the population) than non-M?ori (55%), and received smaller quantities on average. Rural Maori in particular received fewer prescriptions.

Among children six years or under, only 43% of rural Maori children received antibiotics during the year, whereas 68% of rural non-Maori, and over 80% of urban children, did receive them.

Lower levels of antibiotic use could be the result of M?ori not visiting the doctor as often, being prescribed antibiotics less frequently when they do visit, or not having their prescriptions filled. We are planning further research on this in the future says Dr Horsburgh.

However, Dr Horsburgh says issues relating to access of health services, such as poverty, geographical isolation and lack of reliable transport to pick up medicines or visit a doctor, are likely to be some of the reasons for the low levels of antibiotic use by rural Maori.

Professor Norris says the findings are very worrying, because of the high rates of acute rheumatic fever in this area.

Antibiotics are very cheap, whereas the long-term costs of rheumatic fever for individuals, whanau and the health system are immense. Proactive steps need to be taken to reduce the impact of this disease in Maori communities.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s true T.Thompson! Hemi Rau was legally sacked by Waikato-Tainui and lost an employment relations case. Is that not DISHONESTY? Read the news, and please lend an ear to the (forgotten) beneficiaries at the Grass roots, THEE PEOPLE OF THE LAND, and not the filthy few that empower his dirty TAU-IWI Kaupapa against WHANAU, HAPU RANGATIRATANGA.
    Ngati Whatua need HELP now or he will have all the Whanau locked up in JAIL. Ring the Maori Affairs minister Dr. PITA SHARPLES and he will convey the same feelings of the old saying, “Once bitten twice shy” Dishonesty in business is a CRIME

  2. Hemi Rau is a GUILTY Traitor! In the old days he would have been beheaded for these crimes against the KINGSHIP. Tainui dont want him so hes pushing his Tau iwi kaupapa in Otakanini Ngati Whatua. Hemi Rau is Tau Iwi orientated and cares only for MONEY. The people are irrelevent and he will spend every cent he can get his hand on, in the courts to further his GREED motivated Ideology. It is great the Tuku Morgan is a strong man and was not phased by the blind greed that Hemi Rau was trying to impose upon Tainui.
    I worry for the future of our Whanau and Whenua in the Kaipara ki te Tonga Rohe.
    Ngati Whatua ki Kaipara is under seige with this Bull head Hemi Rau at the Helm, Current Chairman of the Otakanini Topu incorporation. He has bought all his Tainui Commercial contacts such as MIGHTY RIVER POWER and railroaded all these windmills with basic to no consultation with the people. We have no resource such as Tainui, to Take this clown to court and make him accoutable. Help us Tuku Morgan, you know his colours. Investigate MIGHTY RIVER cause they are in his pocket, We are doomed without yous!! If he is like this with his fathers people TAINUI! Please spare US, His MOTHERS people, Ngati Whatua tuturu

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