Poverty was one of the major issues in the run up to the 2011 election. There were some major pieces of work on the issue, such as the Inside Child Poverty documentary:
Shock look at NZ’s child poverty
More than 100 New Zealand children who died last year would probably have survived had they lived in Japan, Sweden or the Czech Republic, a new documentary shows.
In Inside Child Poverty: A Special Report, set to air this week, Wellington documentary maker Bryan Bruce shows a Swedish doctor footage of sick, scab-ridden schoolchildren suffering from preventable diseases in Porirua and asks if he saw similar situations in his country. The doctor shakes his head: “In the 70s, maybe.”
Last year, more than 25,000 children were admitted to hospital for respiratory infections. Doctors routinely treat cases of rheumatic fever and scabies – diseases now rare in Europe. The reason behind these preventable diseases were appalling rates of child poverty that New Zealand could not afford to ignore, Mr Bruce said.
Other notable events were the RNZ insight coverage and the seven key recommendations of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) (which the government rejected out of hand). Fast forward to 2014, and Andrea Vance’s piece yesterday:
Rheumatic fever, syphilis cases rise
Rheumatic fever rates are on the up despite $65 million being spent on prevention, new figures reveal.
A report by crown research unit ESR (Environmental Science and Research) shows a “significant increase” in cases of the disease in the year to September, with 235 notified acute cases, up 75 on the previous 12 months.
The Government has pumped resources into the combating the illness with free drop-in clinics, healthy homes initiatives and public information campaigns, and wants to reduce incidences by two-thirds by June 2017.
Labour’s health spokeswoman Annette King said the Government was failing with rates of the disease rising in the last three years. … Estimates put 140 adult deaths a year down to the illness. “As former health minister Tony Ryall himself said: ‘We are the only developed country in the world with levels of rheumatic fever you would see in the third world’,” King said.
She wanted the Government to tackle the causes. “Acute rheumatic fever is largely a disease of poverty, overcrowding, and healthcare inequality,” she said. “Preventing it requires more than throat-swabbing and publicity campaigns, it requires a health system that provides services that are accessible for all and a co-ordinated effort to address social factors that impact on health, such as housing.”
So it turns out that there are no quick fixes to diseases of poverty. To tackle them, you need to tackle the cause – poverty itself.
Your move, National.