[Sitting date: 09 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:2080. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Dr JIAN YANG (National) to the
Associate Minister of Health: How is the Government expanding its programme to reduce rheumatic fever in vulnerable communities?
Hon TARIANA TURIA (Associate Minister of Health)
: As part of the relationship accord between the Māori Party and the National Party, this Government is tackling rheumatic fever head-on. Today we announced that as part of Budget 2012 we are doubling the spending, from $12 million to $24 million, over the next 4 years to reduce rheumatic fever in vulnerable communities. We currently have 101 schools engaged in the rheumatic fever campaign, targeting 35,000 children in seven regions. This new funding will allow more schools and more children to be targeted in this preventive programme. Around 70 percent of children who get this Third World disease will suffer some heart damage, but with proper treatment that risk is dramatically reduced.
Dr Jian Yang: What particular steps are being taken to reduce rheumatic fever in the Porirua region?
Hon TARIANA TURIA: Today, along with the Prime Minister and Minister Hekia Parata, we launched a new throat-swabbing programme in Porirua at the Holy Family School. Porirua City has the highest rate for 5 to 15-year-olds of all territorial local authorities in New Zealand. The new funding in Budget 2012 to support tackling rheumatic fever will allow at-risk schoolchildren up to year 10 in east Porirua to be part of the throat-swabbing programme and follow-up antibiotic treatment. This covers 19 schools and colleges, and 10 new schools will be enrolled in the programme.
Te Ururoa Flavell: Kia ora tātou. Can she share with the House some signals that might indicate how rheumatic fever is being prevented?
Hon TARIANA TURIA: To reduce the annual rate of rheumatic fever amongst Māori and Pasifika people and to contribute to the reduction of rheumatic fever occurrence in New Zealand, ultimately our desire is to see the eradication of this disease. There is no place in New Zealand for a Third World disease that is preventable.
Mr SPEAKER: Question No. 8, the Hon Annette King. [Interruption] Order! I have called the Hon Annette King. [Interruption] Order! Will the cross benches please come to order. I have called the Hon Annette King for question No. 8.