12 Dec 2011

Extra funding for rheumatic fever lauded

10:50 pm on 12 December 2011

A Far North Maori GP is applauding the Government's move to double the funding available to combat rheumatic fever.

The allocation of $12 million in the last budget will increase to $24m, as a result of the Maori Party's support deal with National.

Dr Lance O'Sullivan says that sort of money will mean health authorities can broaden their efforts to deal with a disease that still ravages Maori and Pacific Island communities.

He says a throat-swabbing programme that began in six Kaitaia schools this year is preventing rheumatic fever by finding and treating about five Strep A infections a week.

The Kaitaia GP says he is also heartened that the Government is setting up a ministerial committee on poverty, because that is the cause of many of the childhood illnesses he sees in his practice.