Institutionalised racism | The Jackal

19 Apr 2012

Institutionalised racism

Today, the Waikato Times reported:

Your chances of surviving cancer are improving – unless you are poor or Maori.

A new Otago University/Health Ministry report shows that, while survival rates for cancer are improving nationally – 32 per cent from 1991 to 2004 – the mortality rate for Maori is 29 per cent higher than that of non-Maori.

Inequalities in survival were also seen between different income levels.

People diagnosed with cancer in the lowest third of household incomes had on average a 12 per cent higher death rate than people on high incomes.

The report has outraged Toi Ora primary health organisation (PHO) chief executive Tureiti Moxon, who said such a wide gap was "simply unacceptable" in a country such as New Zealand.

In my opinion, one of the main issues is that many Hospitals in rural areas have closed and this happens to be where Maori and people on lower incomes predominantly reside.

This adds additional cost to travel to get the required treatment, which is often not available to those with cancer, which results in lapses in service.

Another problem is that poor people who cannot afford to see the doctor are less likely to have their cancer diagnosed early. This will greatly reduce their likelihood of surviving.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of cancer in the world, so this is really something the government cannot afford to get wrong.