The Children of New Zealand
You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives. Neither can you choose your parents or your place of birth. If you could any sensible foetus would choose at least twenty other countries to be born in rather then New Zealand. New Zealand's children's needs are being seriously neglected. This essay will challenge New Zealand's performance in child health and welfare. Looking at the widespread abuse of children, the growing rate of violent youth crime, and the effects of a damaged cultural environment.
New Zealand children are born with grossly unequal opportunities for health. Professor Gluckman (Prof. Of paediatrics at the Auckland University School of Medicine) said,
“The state of our children's health is not what it should be. Relative to other comparable countries our children are sicker and get poorly treated. About 200 children die in their first year of life in New Zealand who would not if they live in Australia or elsewhere in the Western world... We admit children with diseases that should not exist – rheumatic fever is rite; TB still occurs.”
Were New Zealand's children equal to the rest of the world we would not see such a high understaffing of paediatric services. For example, in New Zealand there is one paediatrician for every 3,400 children, whereas in the U.S.A., even with its much larger population, there is one for every 1,300. The simple truth behind this, is that there is not an appropriate share of funds being assigned to child health. Dr Liz Segedin, a Paediatric Intensivist, believes the limitations of the endlessly awaited children's hospital in Auckland reflect the low status of children's health in New Zealand.
“They’ll be no specialised accident and emergency facility. No specialised adolescent unit. No intensive care unit. It’s really sad.”
“This just reflects the national priorities.”
“Children's services are disseminated all over Auckland.”
An alternative look at child health is the children who owe their misfortune to the habits of their parents. Maternal drinking of alcohol, smoking and glue-sniffing in the antenatal period and parental smoking post-natally can all have a disastrous effect on the long-term health of their children.
Immunisation of children has fallen to alarming levels. An Auckland Star editorial in March 1987 drew attention to the major problem of immunisation. It showed 50% of children were immunised against measles in some parts of the country, whereas, by contrast, in the United States, children are not allowed to start school without evidence of their inoculation against measles.
Looking in-depth at the number of ‘accidents’ in New Zealand, it is shocking. It has been traditional in New Zealand to regard accidents to children as something inevitable, and not preventable, yet the fact that a
child in Sweden, Denmark or England, to name a few, is less likely to die as the result of an accident than...