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Ed Sheeran

Doctors weak link in rheumatic fever campaign

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A leading campaigner against rheumatic fever is welcoming a new fund for encouraging innovative responses to rheumatic fever in Maori communities, but warns the whole health sector needs to get behind the kaupapa.

Kaitaia GP Lance O'Sullivan says the 45 percent reduction in new cases of rheumatic fever over the past xx is fantastic, but there are still too many Maori and Pasifika children catching the disease, which has long term health effects.

He says much of the reduction is because of school-based throat swabbing programmes, but whanau don't always get the right care when they go along to doctors.

"I've seen evidence and instances where that doesn't happen. Maori kid, sore throat, goes along and doesn't get a swab done. The engagement is important, the awareness, increasing that, but we also have to make sure the health system is responsive to these people coming along with these high risks of a sore throat," Dr O'Sullivan says.

He will put his hand up for some of the new funding to create a digital storytelling app so parents can get advice on sore throats on their phones.

DR LANCE O'SULLIVAN 

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