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The New Zealand Medical Journal

 Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 29-April-2011, Vol 124 No 1333

This Issue in the Journal
Better be prepared than sorry: what should the New Zealand healthcare system learn from the 2009 Pacific Tsunami?
Sultan Al-Shaqsi
On the early hours of the 29 September 2009, an earthquake in the Pacific generated a massive tsunami that caused significant destruction and claimed many lives across several Pacific nations. The disaster initiated an international relief operation from New Zealand (NZ), Australia, and the United States. The NZ healthcare response was adequate given the multiple challenges encountered. This article reviews the challenges faced by NZ healthcare responders to the Pacific Tsunami. Furthermore, it presents the lessons learnt from this operation in order to enhance the NZ healthcare system preparedness to respond to future disasters and mass emergencies nationally and internationally.
Communicable and non-communicable diseases in the Solomon Islands villages during recovery from a massive earthquake in April 2007
Takuro Furusawa, Hana Furusawa, Ricky Eddie, Makiva Tuni, Freda Pitakaka, Shankar Aswani
In April 2007, a massive earthquake and tsunami hit fishing-horticulture villages and Gizo town in the Solomon Islands. Two years later, a peri-urban community who was affected by the tsunami were at risk of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. A risk of non-communicable disease was also increasing in a rural community who had successfully received a lot of aid. These results suggested that controlling urbanisation as well as providing continuous support against infectious conditions during the recovery process would be beneficial.
Yaws in Polynesia’s Wallis and Futuna Islands: a seroprevalence survey
Gilles Guerrier, Sandrine Marcon, Laure Garnotel, Roger Deltour, Stéphane Schinas, Jean Pierre Mathelin, Chantal Chouvin, Olivier Metge, Jean Marc Daronat
Yaws is a tropical infection of the skin, bones and joints caused by the bacteria Treponema pallidum which also causes syphilis. We carried out a serological and clinical survey to determine the prevalence and clinical presentation of yaws on two twin islands in Polynesia: Wallis and Futuna (600km from Fiji). A total of 264 serum (from blood) samples were tested. Our results contrast with findings in neighbouring islands, such as Vanuatu, where yaws has been reported to resurge. This difference might be explained by better availability and accessibility of healthcare on Wallis and Futuna, thus allowing widespread use of antibiotics for bacterial disease.
Increased incidence of empyema in Polynesian children
Naomi Wright, Philip Hammond, Philip Morreau, James Hamill
Empyema is a collection of pus/ infection within the pleural cavity, an area between the lung and chest wall. This study shows that there is a higher incidence of empyema within Polynesian children. We highlight that severity of empyema may be higher within this population requiring further investigation. We recommend a high level of suspicion for empyema and abscesses (collections of pus) within the lungs of Polynesian children with pneumonia to allow swift referral and institution of treatment in order to minimise complications and need for invasive surgery and optimise outcome.
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