Poverty-related illness rates still high
Mon, 10 Dec 2012 7:30a.m.
By 3 News online staff / NZN / RadioLIVE
A new report out this morning shows little improvement in the number of children showing up in hospitals with poverty-related illnesses.
The Children's Social Health Monitor has been tracking our children's health since the start of the recession in 2007. Four thousand more children suffering from poverty-related illnesses turned up in hospitals last year than four years ago.
Rates for a number of avoidable conditions are still on the rise, with more youngsters presenting with serious skin conditions and rheumatic fever by the year. That's despite better economic conditions, push to increase vaccination rates, insulation programmes for houses and access to free after-hours clinics.
"Some of the adaptations families make in response to their inadequate resources may have detrimental health consequences for their children," the report states.
It shows one in five children are dependent on state benefits, with Maori and Pacific children more likely to be hospitalised with poverty-related illnesses.
The report's head researcher, Elizabeth Craig, says the report does not necessarily draw a link between poverty and poor health but it is a likely factor.
“The data we use can’t do a direct cause of relationship say between rising unemployment and admissions, but what we know is that children in the poorest areas have rates of two, three, four times higher,” she told Firstline this morning.
Dr Craig says while child abuse rates are falling, taking these statistics at face value may be problematic.
“When I talk to paediatricians… they say that probably rates are under-reporting by about half.”
Labour's spokesperson for children, Jacinda Ardern, says the report validates calls for more Government services to be provided through schools and kindergartens.
"These children, particularly in this report, are more likely to suffer bronchiectasis, rheumatic fever, diseases of overcrowding and poor housing."
Rates are high for Maori and Pacific Island children, and Dr Craig says this is possibly to do with the number of children in those communities living in overcrowded homes.
Ms Ardern says more jobs are needed to get children out of poverty.
"Poverty is making our children sick," she told Fairfax NZ. "Now more than ever the Government needs to focus on reducing poverty rates. Until it does, we will all pay the price."
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) says much more must be done, and quickly, to reduce New Zealand's "distressing rates of ill health amongst Maori and Pacific children which are rooted in poverty".
It says for every 100 "European or other" children hospitalised last year there were 167 Maori or 251 Pacific children admitted.
Families on severely restricted incomes - such as beneficiaries - suffered stress, poor diet and were more likely to live in substandard or overcrowded housing, the group said.
"The Government should increase the sustained assistance it gives low income families so they can provide for children now - the children cannot wait for more jobs with adequate wages to appear," said CPAG's Innes Asher.
"The poor state of children's health is the most obvious sign that New Zealand is not investing enough in children's early years."
More than 36,000 children were admitted to hospital last year with illnesses linked to poverty. More than 600 have died in the last five years after suffering poverty-related illness and injuries.
RadioLIVE / 3 News / NZN
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11/12/2012 4:15:42 p.m.
tin man wrote:
@ CHarrissa : dis you know those wraps are not recommended and will not stop a parent rolling on or smothering their infant or toddler accidentally in a deep sleep. It wont stop the damp and mold in a dodgy rental or lack of health services in the areas in NZ that have the most kids. It wont stop low socio kiddies being culled off waiting lists, it wont make the education services get off their back sides and it wont get dad a full time job.
10/12/2012 10:01:41 p.m.
Actually Mike in the story you are talking about the heaters werent being used they were merely there in the house.
When asked if they were used the resident said "no, cant afford the gas".
Seriously you misrepresent everything and know very little to nothing.
Its no wonder we cant get on top of this problem with empty headed idiots misrepresenting the truth... as you ALWAYS do.
Considering the sunstandard quality of housing the poor inhabit compared to the rich... there is no comparison and saying "wrap up" when there is toxic mould everywhere is an absolute idiot suggestion.. but its coming from you so its no surprise at all.
10/12/2012 9:08:45 p.m.
good nuz brown wrote:
Illuminati simple control health services this will be broken down by poorer areas it will become harder to get into any health service as we see users pay but prices will rise.................... watch this space
10/12/2012 9:01:05 p.m.
Just been visting my friend and babies. Did you know that you can get a Safe-T-Sleep sleep wrap that helps prevent suffocation while sleeping. It's been around for years and you can get them from most baby stores.
10/12/2012 7:10:59 p.m.
I know a few large families with 6-8 children that would be classed as poor in Manurewa, but they grow their own veg, keep hens (in town) and don't have all the mod cons i.e Sky or flat screen TVs. They use pot belly or fireplaces that produce good heat and eat really healthily. It's up to parents to make the right choices, or be educated or learn about budgeting and what's good for your children at the end of the day.
10/12/2012 6:47:52 p.m.
Poor choices are being made.Eg doco on TV3 on poverty inside NZ two weeks ago showed damp housing NZ homes using free-standing gas heaters inside.Take the high C02 levels produced, the buckets of water making everythig damp, they are making the homes the bad places to live that they are.They have an idea electricity is more expensive, when buying fill-ups from service station is not cheap, and then gives them unhealthy damp homes. On the doco they had a claim that a 900-1500 watt housing NZ provided heater cost $7 to run for 90 minutes, which if you work it out, claims they are paying $3 Kwh. Nobody pays $3 Kwh, but thats what was being claimed in the doco!#1 Part of living cheap, wrap up when its cold. If its good enough for the so-called rich, its good enough for everyone. #2 better to use electricty than gas as the cost is not much different, and when add the c02 dumbing down factor which is unhealthy, plus the buckets of damp, gas free-standing heaters are a terrible idea in homes. We need to educate people, and yet with the damp so visible to the housing NZ tenants they still can't see the problem of using the free-standing gas heaters.While gas burns cleaner, inhaling the carbon fumes still like having a smokers habbit, and will give lung problems and is bad for anyone, let alone kids.A bit of well organised electric heating can go a long way with wrapping up.
10/12/2012 12:18:57 p.m.
r u kidding? who can live on e.g. an unemployment benefit, my health has been ruined by it after being on it 2 1/2 years, i can't afford any normal food. people are getting really desperate.
10/12/2012 11:32:08 a.m.
Government needs to do more to upskill people who are on the benefit or on a low income.
10/12/2012 11:05:02 a.m.
@Erm what utter uninformed rubbish.
I know several people who are homeless, and when you are homeless you are not entitled to a state benefit.
No address, no benefit.
What we have in you is someone who is utterly clueless.
10/12/2012 10:40:01 a.m.
Most of these children will live in Housing NZ homes. Have you seen the state of the houses in Porirua?! Pour more money into this area to fix these houses and poor insulation and maybe then the statistics will ease up.
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