Youth harness new app to beat rheumatic fever

By Mānia Clarke
  • Auckland

A group of South Auckland kids are telling the digital story of rheumatic fever and what it does to whānau, friends and community.  These talented kids are involved in community-driven change in an area where Māori and Pacific communities are most vulnerable.

11-year-old Connor Takiari knows what strep throat feels like and he's passionate about telling others how to beat rheumatic fever in his own words.

The Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate student says, “I think it's gonna be helpful to all those people who have strep throat, so they can prevent rheumatic fever.”

25 students from six schools within the region have been working with Kiwa Digital to create the new bi-lingual interactive app Beat.fever.

“I think it educates kids to speak up and tell their parents if they ever get sick,” said fellow student  Mercedez Beazley.

Clinical Director of National Hauora Coalition, Dr. Rāwiri Jansen said, “The children will carry the message to the families through this initiative, to have their thoughts and perspective broadened.”

For last four years, the National Hauora Coalition and Counties Manukau Health have been providing free healthcare called Mana Kidz, to reduce rheumatic fever in schools .

“Before around 36 children were affected each year.  Now it's reduced to only 6 children affected by this sickness (each year),” said Dr. Jansen. 

“The issue behind rheumatic fever is the living conditions have the families in the home.  For Auckland, there are a lot of people living in one house, and that's the problem about this sickness.”

The free app is available now on iTunes and GooglePlay for iPads, iPhones, tablets and android devices.