Monday, 2 May 2011

SIDS: New Zealand: Poverty and infant mortality

The number of Waikato children admitted to hospital with low-income related medical conditions is on the rise with the situation described as "shocking and dire" by one Hamilton budget adviser.
Kit Buckley runs a Mum's Matter group once a week through Christian social services agency Te Whanau Putahi and said the report's findings come as no surprise.
"The biggest problem is that parents have no money left for things like good nutrition and healthcare so conditions aren't being picked up soon enough – or in some cases until it's too late," she said.
The nine-year study into the Health of Children and Young People with Chronic Conditions and Disabilities was commissioned by Waikato District Health Board in conjunction with the Paediatric Society of New Zealand.
The study is based on data recorded between 2000 and 2009 into children and young people in the Waikato who had accessed secondary health services – such as hospitals.
It showed that in April last year 24,743 Waikato children and young people were reliant on a benefit or benefit recipient and that while hospital admissions and deaths had declined for that group between 2000 and 2007, the trend had risen since then, with the largest increases being Maori and Pacific children.
The study is the third in a series of reports into the health of Waikato children and young people published by Elizabeth Craig, director of New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service from the Dunedin School of Medicine.
Waikato DHB senior portfolio manager of planning and funding Ruth Rhodes said the report was invaluable.
"The information is specific to the Waikato, and it helps us not only better serve Waikato families and children, but it supports us in talking to service providers," Mrs Rhodes said.
The data showed that Waikato children had lower rates for hospital admissions for those with congenital anomalies at birth (such as Down syndrome and cardiovascular anomalies), developmental delays, epilepsy and autism, compared to other regions.
Admissions for cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis were similar to the national average.
The leading causes of death for Waikato infants were extreme prematurity, sudden infant death syndrome and congenital anomalies –- all similar to the national average.

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