In 2012, the Government committed to delivering a set of 10 Better Public Services results. The Ministry of Health worked closely with the Ministries of Social Development; Business, Innovation and Employment; Education, and the Police on three results that contributed to supporting vulnerable children.
The Ministry of Health led work on Result 3 to increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever. We also supported increased participation in early childhood education and reduced assaults on children.
The health-led targets were to increase infant immunisation rates so that 95% of 8-month-olds were fully immunised by December 2014 and maintain this through to 30 June 2017, and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000 people by June 2017.
These targets will continue to be monitored until 30 June 2017.
Increasing infant immunisation rates
Since the BPS target of fully immunising 95% of 8-month-olds was introduced coverage is up from 86% to consistently between 93 and 94% across the country.
In the quarter ending December 2016, 93.3% of 8-month-olds were fully immunised against vaccine preventable diseases such as whooping cough. Since December 2014, 13 of the 20 DHBs have achieved the target of 95% coverage for at least one quarter.
Coverage for Māori infants has improved increasing from 78% in 2012 to 91% in 2016. Pacific immunisation rates are the highest they have ever been in the quarter ending 31 December 2016, at 96.5%.
Reducing the incidence in rheumatic fever
The current focus on rheumatic fever has resulted in a 23% decrease in cases, dropping from 177 cases in 2012 to 137 in 2016.
More than half the country’s rheumatic fever cases are in Auckland, and increased efforts are being made at both regional and national levels to reduce the number of children and young people affected by rheumatic fever.