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Rheumatic fever hot topic for UN hui
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Health Minister David Clark is hoping a global plan for combating rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease will come out of this year’s United Nations World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Dr Clark left for the conference today.

He says New Zealand officials worked hard with colleagues from Pacific and African countries to get the topic on the agenda.

That means countries can discuss the current situation across the world, coordinate with international researchers and partners to improve prevention and treatment, and provide support for countries bearing the greatest burden of the disease.

Rheumatic fever can cause long term heart damage.

In New Zealand it’s a disease that disproportionately affects Maori and Pacific children.

Dr Clark says the conference will also discuss how poverty-related factors including poor housing, overcrowding and reduced access to health care are contributing to the prevalence of the disease worldwide.

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