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NZ’s third leading cause of death on the back burner

Published: Thu 21 Sep 2017 02:32 PM
NZ’s third leading cause of death on the back burner
Ministry of Health targets are reviewed annually to ensure they align with health priorities, however New Zealand’s third leading cause of death still has no defined national health target with dedicated funding behind it.
On a global scale, Noncommunicable disease (NCDs) cause millions of deaths each year.
“…The global epidemic of NCDs is a major and growing challenge to development. Each year, in developing countries alone, strokes, heart attacks, cancer, diabetes or asthma kill more than 12 million people between the ages of 30 and 70…” Ban Ki-moon, eighth Secretary General of the UN stated over three years ago.
The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ stresses the need to address respiratory health inequities and improve the overall high rates, which can’t be achieved without government action.
“Why one of our country’s leading causes of morbidity and mortality isn’t a national health target is beyond me,” says Letitia O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ.
“The government still has this major issue on the back burner,” says O’Dwyer.
The Foundation proposes the next government to step up and act upon the following target: “Reduce emergency visits for acute respiratory illnesses by 20 per cent within the next five years”.
“OECD statistics indicate New Zealand has the fourth highest hospital admission rates for asthma of OECD countries. We need to improve access to primary care – this is an achievable goal with government support and funding,” says O’Dwyer.
“The irony is respiratory disease is often a poverty-related condition, but at the same time it’s the ‘poor cousin’ that doesn’t get enough funding,” says O’Dwyer.
This month is Breathe Better September, a national respiratory awareness campaign run by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ.
ENDS

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