- Date published:
7:01 am, August 15th, 2016 - 122 comments
Categories: class war, health, housing, national, poverty - Tags: brighter future, cusp of something special, disease, poverty, rheumatic fever
One of the consequences of poor, overcrowded housing is an increase in the incidence of preventable “diseases of poverty”. This was highlighted as a national issue in the run up to the 2011 election with 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. …
Since then the housing crisis has worsened, with record numbers living in cars and garages. This can only be making matters even worse. For example, although significant interventions had been reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever, it is on the rise again:
Housing crisis linked to spike in Auckland rheumatic fever cases
The housing crisis is being blamed for a sudden rise of rheumatic fever cases in the Auckland region after years of decreasing rates.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service statistics show that overall numbers of cases are 36% higher for the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.
In the 0-19 year olds group there have been 33 cases to the end of June compared with 28 for the same time last year.
Medical Officer of Health Catherine Jackson says there could be a number of reasons for this including crowded housing and the prevention programme could have reached its maximum effectiveness and chance.
Dr David Jansen, clinical director of the National Hauora Coalition, says as a south Auckland GP he is seeing more families at the extreme end of homelessness and this could undo all the good prevention work that’s being done.
“I was really disappointed that we had a state agency that was actively putting families in harm’s way by referring them to completely substandard housing,” he says. …
It is likely that other diseases of poverty are also or will also increase as the housing crisis drags on under National.