May 19, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Fight against rheumatic fever key priority in new Maori Party/Nat ageement

2 min read

Money for the government-funded programme to fight rheumatic fever will be doubled to $24 million under a new agreement between National and the Maori Party.

The extra $12 million over four years will extend the current $12 million rheumatic fever programme.

The programme, announced in May, uses school-based sore throat services, local coordination of frontline primary healthcare services, development of community awareness, health worker training and clinical support tools, and surveillance and service audit, in an attempt to eradicate the disease in seven high-risk areas (New Zealand Doctor, 10 August).

The areas covered so far are Northland, south Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty/Lakes, Te Tairawhiti, Hawke’s Bay and Porirua but, in an email to New Zealand Doctor, health minister Tony Ryall says the new funding will help the programme reach more communities.

No plans set for the money yet

No decisions have been made yet about when the additional money will be available, how it will be spent or where it is coming from but “announcements will be made in due course,” says health advisor Ana Bidois, at the office of associate health minister Tariana Turia, in an email to New Zealand Doctor.

Mr Ryall says: “The detail is still to be worked through, but the programme will be expanded to more communities.”

The increase in spending will likely be welcomed by south Auckland health workers who said the programme was “under-funded and under-resourced” after it was revealed Counties Manukau DHB would get only 30 per cent of the money despite having 50 to 60 per cent of the disease burden

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