No more fever checks at schools
A Porirua deputy principal has slammed plans to stop a schoolbased programme designed to combat the region’s high rate of rheumatic fever.
The Ministry of Health launched the prevention programme in 2012, which included throat swabbing at Porirua primary schools.
However, Capital & Coast DHB has announced throat swabbing will leave schools and now take place only at medical centres.
Cannons Creek School deputy principal Kirsty Holden said removing school-based health checks was a step backwards in the battle against rheumatic fever.
‘‘We have worked very hard with our wonderful public health nurse and we have made it a routine for parents, kids and teachers,’’ she said.
‘‘Parents trust the teachers, they trust the school and they trust the nurse.’’
She said that under the new scheme children would take a letter home informing parents they needed to be taken to a clinic, but transport and time away from work were barriers that could prevent access to the service.
Pasifika people are 50 times more likely to contract rheumatic fever and because of a high amount of Pasifika students, withdrawing the service from school meant children could miss out on health care.
The health board’s Sandra Williams said sore throats didn’t just happen in school hours, which was why the programme changed.
‘‘We’ve ensured Porirua parents can have their children’s sore throats checked and treated at community-based GP clinics at any time.
‘‘This will be much more convenient for families – they don’t have to be enrolled with a particular GP to use the clinic, and no appointment needed.’’
Regional Public Health nurses would still visit schools to ensure children with sore throats are checked at clinics, and the DHB would monitor the programme.
Dr Larry Jordan of Whitby Doctors Medical Centre said the free clinics were good news for Porirua families.
‘‘While it’s true the schools had a captive audience, it also meant other people were missing out.’’
The clinic-based programme began in Porirua East about 18 months ago and the response was that it was valued and worthwhile, he said. or payment is
The clinics offering free screening and treatment are: Titahi Bay Surgery, Whitby Doctors, Mana Medical Centre, Plimmerton Medical Centre, Tawa Medical Centre, Linden Surgery, Titahi Bay Doctors, Kenepuru Accident and Medical Clinic, Pacific Health Service Porirua, Waitangirua Health Centre, Porirua Union and Community Health Centre, Ora Toa Takapuwahia Medical Centre, Ora Toa Mungavin Medical Centre and Ora Toa Cannons Creek Medical Centre.
Erin Anderson, left, and Saskia Janssen were well in the mix for the Plimmerton Midwinter Dip on Sunday. The rain and cold couldn’t keep more than 250 people from attending Plimmerton Kindergarten’s main fundraiser – 120 of whom went into the water – and it was hoped more than $6000 was raised. Co-organiser Michelle Sharp said it went well considering the weather and the support from the community was, as expected, outstanding.