13 Dec 2011

Kaitaia GP welcomes extra funding for rheumatic fever

7:10 pm on 13 December 2011

A Kaitaia doctor has welcomed the Government's decision to double the funding to combat rheumatic fever.

As part of its agreement with the Maori Party the National Party has agreed to increase the funding to $24 million.

Lance O'Sullivan says that will really help health services in Northland deal with a disease which still ravages Maori and Pacific Island families.

He says a throat swabbing programme in Kaitaia schools has picked up 40 children with Streptococcus A, which is a pre-disposing cause of the fever.

Dr O'Sullivan wants to see the programme extended to all schools.

Meanwhile, a prevention programme in the Hastings suburb of Flaxmere, where there were eight cases of rheumatic fever in 2009-2010, has been very successful.

The "Say Ahh" project run by Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and the DHB, swabbed the throats of 1860 children.

Two hundred and sixty-nine returned positive results to Strep A and were successfully treated.

There haven't been any cases of rheumatic fever since the programme started.