Fight against Rheumatic Fever gets funding boost

By Maiki Sherman

An extra $20 million in funding over the next four years to combat rheumatic fever has been set aside in the government's Budget 2014. Next week the full details of spending within the budget will be announced, but those fighting to combat rheumatic fever are delighted with the early announcement.

Ngai Tūhoe children are experts when it comes to testing for rheumatic fever. Health provider, Te Kaokao o Takapau, has been servicing seven schools in the area for more than two years now.  

Sunshine Biddle says, “They're all experts on the disease now. When they see us they let us know if they have a sore throat, some are simply being mischivious, but we still need to check them.”

Sandra Ball is the clinical manager for school based rheumatic fever prevention projects in the Eastern Bay. She says the hope is some of the new funding will be invested in their region and aimed at secondary school students who are not being covered at present.   

The government has announced it will also expand free drop-in-centres. However, this group warns that the initiative needs to be delievered directly to the families.

Furthermore, $5million will also be invested on advertising for the campaign in the hope of educating the children.