19 May 2011

$12m to tackle rheumatic fever

10:11 pm on 19 May 2011

The Government is to spend $12 million to reduce high rates of rheumatic fever in vulnerable communities.

The money, announced in the Budget on Thursday, is to be spent over four years.

Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia said rates of rheumatic fever are now 14 times higher in New Zealand than in any other country in the OECD.

She said the large disparity between ethnic groups appears to have worsened, with mean incidence rates for Maori and Pacific children 20 to 40 times higher than for other New Zealand children.

Whanau Ora boost

The Budget also contains an extra $30 million for the social service delivery programme Whanau Ora over four years.

Ms Turia said the funds include $25 million in the coming year and, subject to final Cabinet approval, another $5 million of reprioritised Maori Potential funding from within the Maori Affairs allocation.

Ms Turia said 25 provider collectives involving 158 health and social service providers were beginning to deliver Whanau Ora.