Two excellent but very disturbing pieces in The Herald yesterday. Kirsty Johnston:
Diseases linked to cold, damp, overcrowded homes are killing more New Zealand children than car crashes or drownings.
An average 20 children die and 30,000 are hospitalised every year from preventable, housing-related diseases like asthma, pneumonia and bronchiolitis, health statistics show.
Poor areas that have high deprivation and low incomes, lots of rental housing and fewer Europeans suffer the most – suburbs like Auckland’s Pt England and parts of Glen Eden.
Health data shows the hospitalisation numbers are climbing. Respiratory conditions in particular – like bronchiolitis and asthma – are causing more hospitalisations each year, with the most severe, such as a “third world” disease named bronchiectasis, irreparably damaging babies’ lungs.
Kirsty Johnston and Chris Knox:
More New Zealand children are killed by diseases linked to cold, damp, and overcrowded housing than in car crashes or drownings.
Disease casts a shadow over Parrs Park in West Auckland. It’s there in the data: the children are getting sick. And when the women open their doors, they’ll tell you.
Hospitalisations caused by poverty-related conditions have increased since 2000 – up to 43,000 last year. Respiratory diseases, in particular, are growing at much more severe rates.
Doctors argue the hospitalisations are a result of embedded child poverty levels combined with a relentless housing crisis.
“In New Zealand we have created a triple jeopardy for poor health,” says expert paediatrician Professor Innes Asher. “Poverty, unhealthy housing and inadequate basic health care puts health at risk, but when the three are combined…poor physical health is almost inevitable, as in Dickens’ times.”
“It’s deeply disappointing,” says Philippa Howden-Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Otago. “There’s a real reluctance of landlords, who are providing a service, to maintain that service. It’s a reluctance I can only put down to the fact that most landlords aren’t concerned about depreciation but only capital gains.”
Howden-Chapman says with up to 800,000 uninsulated homes in New Zealand, she was staggered the government reduced such an important programme.
“It’s both a social and a moral argument – children end up with compromised health for their whole lives, and they die.” …
Plenty more data, personal anecdotes, and analysis in both of these pieces, everyone should read them in full.
This crisis in poverty, housing and health is a national disgrace. It is why we desperately need to elect a Labour led government in September.
If you read one story in this election campaign, make it this one. https://t.co/nTCIIJ3T32
— Bernard Hickey (@bernardchickey) August 29, 2017
— Kirsty Johnston (@kirsty_johnston) August 30, 2017
— Grant Robertson (@grantrobertson1) August 29, 2017