27 Jul 2011

Northland doctor to study First Nations health

7:06 am on 27 July 2011

A Northland medic who helped to curb rheumatic fever in the region is off to Canada for a year to study health inequalities.

Dr Jonathan Jarman worked alongside tangata whenua volunteers in Whangaroa to introduce regular throat-swabbing in local schools.

The programme has wiped out rampant rheumatic fever in that community and reduced the risk of serious heart disease in its Maori population.

The Northland Medical Officer leaves on Wednesday for a year's sabbatical study leave in Winnipeg.

He will spend time with the Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, the equivalent of an iwi health provider, and with Health Manitoba.

Dr Jarman says he's hoping to work with isolated First Nations people on reserves north of Winnipeg who want to improve immunisation rates and manage infectious and chronic diseases.