New approach to highlight disease
Stop sore throats hurting hearts, that’s the motto of South Waikato Pacific Island Community Services as it starts this year’s Rheumatic Fever campaign.
Rheumatics co-ordinator Meriol Tearetoa is about to kick off the campaign in the district to raise awareness.
Aimed at 4-year-olds to 19-yearolds, the programme will be offered to as many schools and childcare centres as Tearetoa can visit, especially those with a high ratio of Maori and Pacific Island students.
The slogan which is set across Pacific Island Community Services nationwide is different to last year’s ‘‘sore throats matter’’.
Tearetoa believes the change is more ‘‘straightforward’’.
‘‘It didn’t really target anything, this one is targeting the heart.’’
According to the Heart Foundation, the disease starts with a sore throat caused by streptococcal infection.
A few weeks after getting ‘‘ strep’’ throat, children may develop sore or swollen joints, skin rash, fever, stomach pain or jerky movements. It then affects the heart valve which may result in surgery.
The campaign will allow parents to look out for symptoms and urge them seek medical help if their child has a sore throat, Tearetoa said.
Children can get free swabs and antibiotics in the district when they present with a sore throat.
Children Nester Rikiau, left, Tia Kamere, Caroline Schuster and Leti Letoga will hopefully avoid Rheumatic Fever thanks to the campaign run by South Waikato Pacific Island Community Service rheumatics co-ordinator Meriol Tearetoa,back.