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Waikato leading the way on rheumatic fever prevention

After the launch of Waikato’s biggest rheumatic fever prevention campaign more services have put their hand up to help.

In April 2015 Waikato District Health Board had signed up more than 150 services to provide free sore throat swabs to eligible high risk children. It is now pleased to welcome an additional 16 pharmacies to the project.

Midland Community Pharmacy Group chief executive Cath Knapton said pharmacies were keen to be part of the project.
“Pharmacies are generally well placed in communities, open extended hours (often on weekends) and generally see people in the initial stages of a sore throat anyway for over the counter treatment,” she said.

“Those pharmacies that had been part of the project from the start have spread the word and are finding it a seamless process with information about results being easily communicated with the patients and their GP.”

The increase means that Waikato now offers more than half of the free throat swabbing services in New Zealand.

“This just really highlights the commitment we all have to making rheumatic fever prevention a community driven priority,” said project lead Michelle Morley.

Working with Midlands Community Pharmacy Group, GP services, Pathlab and secondary school based health clinics, the Waikato District Health Board has increased its free services throughout the Waikato region.

In the Waikato, rheumatic fever disproportionately affects Maori and Pacific children and is associated with access to primary care, social deprivation and crowded living conditions.

If your child has a sore throat please drop in to your general practice, secondary school health clinic, Pathlab or selected pharmacy to receive a free sore throat swab.

To find your closest swabbing service click here

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