΢ҕlof GPs welcomes commitment to tackle rheumatic fever

5 October 2020

Category: Media releases


The Royal ΢ҕl is welcoming yesterday’s announcement to invest $55 million in tackling the root causes of rheumatic fever. The ΢ҕlare vocal critics of New Zealand’s rheumatic fever statistics and strong advocates for change that will improve health equity.

΢ҕlmedical director Dr Bryan Betty says, "Rheumatic fever is a devastating childhood illness, particularly for Māori and Pasifika kids, and it can cause a lifetime of poor health, in particular, heart disease, heart failure and, in the worse cases, death.

"In New Zealand, rheumatic fever remains entrenched in communities experiencing hardship and deprivation.

"As a GP working in Cannons Creek, which is a high-deprivation area, I regularly see rheumatic fever and its devastating effects on patients and their whanau. It is unacceptable that a disease that has been eliminated from most of the western world remains entrenched in New Zealand," says Dr Betty.

The ΢ҕlhas health equity at the heart of its work and is working to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequities.

"Rheumatic fever presents with something as innocuous as a sore throat in children but can lead to entirely disrupting the course of a person’s life and the opportunities they have; it time consuming and a difficult disease that reflects a failure of the New Zealand health system" says Dr Betty.