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More Maori than Pakeha hospitalised with epilepsy

May 16th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

EPILEPSY FIGURES: Number of young Maori and non-Maori hospitalised with epilepsy from 2000-09. IMAGE: Ministry of Health report

MORE young Maori have been hospitalised with epilepsy than Pakeha of the same age, according to a Ministry of Health report.

The report shows that 1029 Māori children and young people were admitted to hospital with the condition between 2005 and 2009, compared with 2471 non-Maori children.

The figures mean Maori make up 29% of young people hospitalised, and non-Maori, 71%.

In contrast, Maori make up 15% of the population, while Pakeha make up 77%.

The report, The Health of Maori Children and Young People with Chronic Conditions and Disabilities in New Zealand, was commissioned for the New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service.

Maori averaged 0.45 admissions per year, or approximately one every two years, and there were 2338 admissions altogether.

Non-Maori averaged 0.47 admissions per year, and there were 5831 admissions altogether.

The statistics show hospitalisations per 100,000 children dropped between 2000 and 2009 for both Maori and non-Maori, but the drop was much greater for non-Maori, especially between 2004 and 2009.

The report says hospital admissions were high amongst Māori infants, with rates declining gradually during childhood to reach their lowest point at eight years old. Rates increased again during the teens and early twenties, to reach a second peak at 22.

The report says these admission rates were “significantly higher” than for non-Maori young people.

The report findings are a mystery to Epilepsy New Zealand’s Verity Colgrave.

“I do not understand why more Maori children are admitted to hospital with epilepsy.”

She says she finds the report concerning.

Mrs Colgrave says Epilepsy New Zealand doesn’t have any specific programme that they use when working with Maori.

“We address their individual needs.”

According to the report, epilepsy is the most common serious neurological illness in children and young people, but it often has no known cause.

Between 2005 and 2009, the hospital admission rates for rheumatic fever, bronchiectasis and diabetes were also much higher for Maori young people than their Pakeha counterparts.

Diagnoses of Down syndrome, neural tube defects, cystic fibrosis, developmental delays/intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy and autism were also much higher in Maori young people than non-Maori young people.

The link to the full report is below:


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