Spreading the word about Rheumatic Fever

Sun 8 Oct 2017

Pacific Homecare has been spreading the word about Rheumatic Fever with the help of Alliance Health Plus! Our region has some of the highest reported and hospitalization cases of this preventable illness, with most seen Pacific Island children aged 5 – 19. Read more about the awareness campaign we’ve been fortunate to be involved in.

Every so often we get the opportunity to make a stand against issues affecting our communities today. Rheumatic Fever is one such problem that is prevalent in our communities today.

Rheumatic fever is a serious but preventable illness. It mainly affects Māori and Pacific children and young people (aged 4 to 19 years), especially if they have other family members who have had rheumatic fever.

In August this year, Pacific Homecare were fortunate enough to be involved in an awareness campaign for this illness with thanks to Alliance Health+. In this time we ran a series of teach back sessions about the illness. In each session we covered topics like, how Rhuematic Fever starts, what could be done to prevent the spread of the illness and what sort of treatments are available. The sessions ran over a course of 3 weeks and was presented to an audience of up to 200 people in total. The sessions were directed at the senior members of our communities as well as our Staff members and Whanau Ora families.

Why are we doing this? ………………. In 2002 the Minsitry of Health took a stand against Rheumatic Fever and started aggressive campaigns to raise awareness about this illness. You may recognize some of the Television advertising they funded like the twins Tristan and Justin, this along with targeted radio ads, billboards, and signage. The campaign showed some success with the number of reported cases decreasing. However, in 2015 the trend took a turn and the number of cases had again started to increase.

According to the report provided by the Ministry of Health, Counties Manukau has some of the highest reported and hospitalization cases of Rheumatic Fever. Most of these cases were made up of Pacific Island children between the ages of 5 – 19 years. As we know, in Pasifika culture it really does take a village to raise a family. For this reason, Pacific Homecare saw the value in talking about Rheumatic Fever with our elderly community, our Support Workers and Office Staff as well as our Whanau Ora families. This way we are not just reaching out to the parents but also to the aunties, uncles, nana’s, papa’s, friends, community leaders, etc. We aim to capitalize on the networking abilities of our pasifika communities so we share our information about the illness and rely on our learners to spread the word.

As part of the campaign, Pacific Homecare commissioned the creation of an animated video that will be used on our various platforms in a bid to raise awareness.

Let’s continue to take action against Rheumatic Fever.

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