9 Dec 2009

NZ looks to improve Pacific's prevention and treatment of rheumatic fever and heart disease

9:53 pm on 9 December 2009

The CEO of New Zealand's Pacific Islands Affairs Ministry hopes that a workshop targetting practitioners from the Pacific region will help improve the prevention and treatment of rheumatic fever and heart disease.

Dr Colin Tukuitonga says rheumatic fever is closely associated with poverty and often strikes people in developing countries.

He says medical professionals from the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Niue will benefit from discussions with specialists in New Zealand about groundbreaking treatments and better preventative measures .

"We managed to get money from NZAID to bring health professionals from the region to New Zealand to discuss ways of preventing and managing rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. It's still a very real problem for Pacific and Maori young ones in New Zealand so and its the same in the region hence the need to do this, to get everyone together to think about how we might be more effective in preventing the disease."

Dr Colin Tukuitonga says the workshop will be held tomorrow at the University of Auckland's Tamaki campus at the School of Population Health.