13 Sep 2011

Turia calls for action on causes of rheumatic fever

6:04 am on 13 September 2011

Maori party co-leader Tariana Turia says the Government must address the causes, and not just the symptoms, of rheumatic fever.

Mrs Turia, who is the Associate Minister of Health, launched a programme in Kaitaia on Monday to tackle the disease.

The Government is putting $12 million into initiatives including throat swabbing in schools to pick up the Streptococcus A infection that causes rheumatic fever, which carries the risk of heart damage.

But Mrs Turia says the programme won't fix the poverty and poor housing that allow diseases such as meningitis and rheumatic fever to flourish.

The worst areas for rheumatic fever include South Auckland, Tai Tokerau, Tai Rawhiti and Porirua.