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Waikato's Innovation Pays Off For Target

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Ministry of Health says Waikato District Health Board should provide an immunisation leadership role in the Midland region due to its outstanding improvement towards reaching the national immunisation health target.

Waikato DHB reached 80 per cent in the Ministry's quarter two report for under two-year-old immunisations; up from 74 per cent in the first quarter.

The national target is to reach 85 per cent coverage of two-year-old immunisations, by July 2010.

Waikato DHB Child and Youth Health project manager Kay Montgomery, said there had been a concerted effort from all areas of immunisation provision within the Waikato to work together to provide a 'no stone unturned approach' for two-year-old immunisations.

She said she believes Waikato is one of the best-resourced DHBs in the country to meet the target and provide comprehensive immunisation coverage to this group.

Of particular note in the figures is the increase in target population statistics for Maori and Pacific children.

Between September 2009 and February 2010, two-year-old immunisation rates among Maori children rose by 11 per cent to 77 per cent, while there has been a 10 per cent increase in the same age group among Pacific children, bringing the total immunised to 76 per cent of the eligible population.

Making up Waikato's two-year-old immunisation services are all four of the region's primary health organisations, with four outreach immunisation providers as well as Health Waikato's Mobile Immunisation Service and Opportunistic Immunisation Service and the Immunisation Advisory Council.

The Mobile Immunisation Service consists of two community nurse vaccinators and two community support workers, who travel throughout the Waikato region to provide immunisations to under six-year-olds in their own homes.

The Opportunistic Immunisation Service at Waikato Hospital helps parents of unimmunised children to have immunisations done there and then if the parent wishes.

"To have all the providers working hard and working together * in primary care and secondary care * we have been able to take a step back, look at what we are doing individually and then come together to fill in the gaps. That teamwork has been invaluable," said Mrs Montgomery.

She said this new approach is one that would continue into the future with the providers all meeting regularly to keep track of Waikato's immunisation status going forward.

"Immunisation is one of the most significant, most cost effective ways of improving health and reducing deaths * it's an extremely important aspect of health care, and as a team, all of us involved in immunisation in the Waikato can be extremely proud of our efforts."

Of Waikato's performance this quarter, Ministry of Health immunisation target champion Pat Tuohy said: "The DHB has encouraging results and much innovative activity. This is beginning to pay dividends with significant quarterly increases.

"The DHB will need to provide a leadership role for a regional approach with Lakes, Tairawhiti and Bay of Plenty still struggling to get to 80 per cent coverage."

The target

Increase immunisation (85 per cent of two-year-olds are fully immunised by July 2010; 90 per cent by July 2011; and 95 per cent by July 2012).

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