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Govt targets money at rheumatic fever

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/11/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has announced $875,000 will be redirected to targeting rheumatic fever in Auckland after figures showed no improvement there.</span> © Getty Images Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has announced $875,000 will be redirected to targeting rheumatic fever in Auckland after figures showed no improvement there. The government has announced it will spend $875,000 combating rheumatic fever, just hours after the Green Party said the housing crisis was to blame for the disease still existing.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the money will be re-prioritised from other areas to reduce rates of the preventable disease.

"I've asked the Ministry of Health to work closer with Auckland's three (District Health Board's), particularly Auckland and Waitemata DHBs which need to identify how they will bring their numbers down to help them achieve their rheumatic fever targets," Dr Coleman said.

According to National, the overall number of rheumatic fever cases has fallen 37 per cent since 2012, but Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the numbers have stayed the same in Auckland and Waitemata where the housing crisis and child poverty are ongoing issues.

"If you don't target the housing crisis happening right now, it is extremely difficult to address rheumatic fever." she said.

"Getting kids out of living in cars, garages, and damp and overcrowded homes will help to reduce rheumatic fever rates."

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