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Maori Party: Health Reports Make Grim Reading

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

16 March 2009 - The grief of a sudden, untimely death will never be forgotten.

Associate Minister of Health, Hon Tariana Turia, describes two reports released at the end of last week as grim reading for those concerned about Maori health.

Mortality and demographic data 2005 reports that the male Maori rate of death was 77.8% higher than for non-Maori; whereas the female Maori rate was 94.3% higher than non-Maori

"The largest differences were for diabetes (Maori rate was 4.7 times higher) and chronic rheumatic heart disease (4.5 times higher)" said Mrs Turia. "The rates are unacceptably high and provide all the justification we need to increase our efforts in improving health outcomes for Maori".

The calculated Māori male age-standardised rate of diabetes mellitus was 300% higher than the non-Māori male rate in 2005, and the calculated Māori female rate was 428% higher than the non-Māori female rate.

"Maori also had at least double the rate for non-Maori mortality in lung cancer, stomach cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, other forms of heart disease, transport accidents and hypertensive disease" said Mrs Turia.

"The other report, Perinatal and maternal mortality in New Zealand 2006, reveals that Pacific and Maori women had far higher rates of perinatal mortality than other population groups" said Mrs Turia. "Babies born to mothers identifying as Maori have a higher rate of neonatal death than babies born to European or Asian mothers".

"Having endured the agony of losing mokopuna in their first weeks of life, I know how devastating such a loss can be for the whole whanau" said Mrs Turia.

"It is disappointing to learn that only ten of the 21 DHBs reported they had a pregnancy loss service" said Mrs Turia.

"The report makes some very useful recommendations in proposing that further work is needed to ensure DHBs might better support parents, families and whanau faced with such tragedy" said Mrs Turia. "I am also pleased to receive the recommendation to undertake detailed analysis of stillbirths among Pacific women, and of neonatal deaths amongst Maori infants in the next report".

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