2 May 2014

$20m to combat rheumatic fever

8:52 am on 2 May 2014

Prime Minister John Key has announced an extra $20 million in funding over the next four years to combat rheumatic fever.

The extra money will go into more drop-in-sore-throat clinics to target 90,000 more children.

It pushes the total government spending on the illness to over $65 million over six years.

Several regions, including Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hutt Valley, will get more of the drop-in clinics.

Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia said healthy homes initiatives would be expanded in those regions as well.

A radio and television campaign to raise awareness for the disease, will run through August.

Northland GP Lance O'Sullivan deals with high rates of rheumatic fever in his community and said the initiative will enable a lot more high-risk children to get help from the heath system.

However the cash injection is only a start to addressing poverty-related diseases, he said.