Starship Foundation

Tackling one of leading causes of hospitalisation for children in New Zealand

Tackling one of the leading causes of hospitalisation for children in New Zealand was the goal of a Starship project funded through the generosity of the Procare Charitable Foundation.

Skin infections place a huge burden on hospitals and primary care, yet such infections do not strike children equally. Children living in deprived neighbourhoods are 4-5 times more likely to develop cellulitis than their more privileged counterparts, while Pacific children are 4-5 times and Māori 2-3 times more likely, to develop cellulitis, than children of NZ European decent.

With early treatment in the community, hospital admissions can be prevented. But with many families lacking the basic knowledge to treat these common communicable illnesses, the availability of effective educational resources is key.

The project, under the leadership of Dr Alison Leversha a community paediatrician with Starship Child Health, set out to fill an identified gap in existing skin infection resources; developing a simple skin care health promotion resource to prevent infection, targeting at-risk families across the greater Auckland community.

As Dr Leversha notes, “We desperately want to keep children healthy and out of hospital and promoting skin health and first-aid makes a huge difference. Having financial support to develop and test new resources was invaluable. It identified issues we never expected.”

The multi-lingual teaching packs are now ready to be distributed through educational centres in communities with high Pacifica and Maori populations.