Putting your well­be­ing first

The Northland Age - - Local Life / Opinion - Hon Kelvin Davis MP

From the out­set the Coali­tion Govern­ment has stated our com­mit­ment to build­ing a bet­ter fu­ture for our chil­dren. That means putting the well­be­ing of all our peo­ple first and re­build­ing the crit­i­cal pub­lic ser­vices, like health, that keep us strong.

So far in North­land we’ve seen this com­mit­ment in ac­tion with a $24 mil­lion fund­ing pack­age for new en­doscopy and car­diac care ca­pac­ity at Whanga¯rei Hos­pi­tal, and

$7.1m for a new out­pa­tients and pri­mary care fa­cil­ity at the Bay of Is­lands Hos­pi­tal at Kawakawa.

And just last week the cost of vis­it­ing the doc­tor be­came much cheaper for the ap­prox­i­mately 40,000 Com­mu­nity Ser­vice card­hold­ers here in North­land, mean­ing more peo­ple will be able to get the care they need, when they need it.

I’m also en­cour­aged to see we acted quickly to launch a tar­geted vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme to con­trol the con­cern­ing out­break of meningo­coc­cal dis­ease, as soon the out­break was iden­ti­fied.

This MenW strain of the dis­ease has a high mor­tal­ity rate and trag­i­cally has killed three of our peo­ple in North­land this year. So far 29 peo­ple have con­tracted MenW na­tion­wide in 2018 (more than twice as many as in 2017), in­clud­ing seven here in North­land.

Noth­ing mat­ters more to any par­ent than the health and well­be­ing of our chil­dren, and we are es­pe­cially con­cerned about pro­tect­ing chil­dren and whanau where the out­break is based.

The three-week com­mu­nity vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme be­gan yes­ter­day, and will tar­get North­land res­i­dents who are aged 9 months to 4 years, and those aged 13 to 19 years, as vac­ci­nat­ing these two age groups is the best way to re­duce the spread of meningo­coc­cal dis­ease across the en­tire North­land com­mu­nity.

We know vac­ci­na­tion pro­grammes work for meningo­coc­cal dis­ease be­cause we’ve been down this road be­fore. Be­tween 2004 and 2006, there was a suc­cess­ful na­tion­wide vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign to deal with meningo­coc­cal B. In 2011, a lo­calised vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme was stopped an out­break of meningo­coc­cal C in North­land.

Launch­ing a vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme now, when the school year is al­most over and the hol­i­day sea­son is close, will be chal­leng­ing for North­land DHB, but it’s vi­tal we be­gin this work as soon as pos­si­ble to avoid any fur­ther loss of life.

My elec­torate of­fices have been get­ting in­quiries from peo­ple who can­not get their im­mu­ni­sa­tions through their lo­cal GP and are not aware that it is be­ing run through se­lected high schools and com­mu­nity cen­tres across North­land. If you’re not cer­tain where to go, please visit the North­land DHB web­site at north­land­dhb.org.nz or my Face­book page.

Meningo­coc­cal dis­ease is one of the most dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose as the symp­toms can be sim­i­lar to other dis­eases such as the flu. Please don’t take any chances. If you no­tice any symp­toms or have any other con­cerns, con­tact your doc­tor — or call Health­line free on 0800 611 116 at any hour of the day or night.

"Meningo­coc­cal dis­ease is one of the most dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose as the symp­toms can be sim­i­lar to other dis­eases such as the flu."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.