In our April 2019 issue, I started my column noting that we were about to make a presentation to the Health Select Committee. I am delighted to report that this submission was extremely well-received by the politicians on both sides of the house – click here to read the full story on the submission.

As a result of this submission we have since met with the Ministry of Health and are jointly developing initiatives that will greatly improve the management of gout arthritis. This is significant progress and a major step forward for the 186 000 people in New Zealand who have this condition.

Of course, gout arthritis is only one strand of our work. In September we are hosting Prof. David Hunter from Australia, a leading expert on osteoarthritis. He will speak about a possible model of care for caring for people with osteoarthritis so that the need for surgery may be reduced. He will be visiting Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton, and Auckland there will be open sessions for you to come and hear him.

Another area that we are working on is services for children and young people. We plan to extend services for families who have children with arthritis.

While we have a well-established annual camp for children with arthritis and training weekend for teens aged 15 and over, we know that these groups require ongoing support. We will increase our services to provide professional support and advice for these families. This will be undertaken in close partnership with the National Paediatric Rheumatology Service.

We are already planning our advocacy work for the general election next year. Coming up later this year we will have a survey to help us determine the priority issues we need to raise with politicians from all parties. If you want to be involved in this, please do call Sally on 0800 663 463.

None of this activity could happen without the wonderful support we receive from our donors and volunteers who truly are the backbone of this organisation. Sincere thanks to you all – you are the heart and soul of this organisation.

If at any time you have queries or concerns, I would welcome a call from you. Call 0800 663 463 and ask for me.

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Knee exercise for people with arthritis: video 2 of 7, the leg stretch.

As with any form of exercise, if you get a lot of pain with any of these exercises, stop and seek advice from a physiotherapist. You can also ask your GP to recommend suitable exercise, especially if you have had joint replacements. A physiotherapist can ensure you have been properly assessed and that your exercises are appropriate for you.
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Prof. David Hunter tells an #osteoarthritis group in Wellington that cost-effective interventions for reducing obesity include taxes on junk food and sugary products. ...

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Today, in Christchurch, was the first presentation to health professionals by #osteoarthritis expert Prof. David Hunter. He painted a picture of what effective osteoarthritis management and treatment can look like. More than 400,000 people in Aotearoa New Zealand have osteoarthritis. ...

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Average age of #osteoarthritis diagnosis in the 90s was 69yrs, in 2010s it's 55yrs - Prof. David Hunter presenting to health professionals in Christchurch

Māori chemist Brendon McIntosh is on a mission to bridge the gap between te ao Māori and their health professionals. https://t.co/EkOt186MHX

Do not miss this opportunity to flag osteoarthritis as a serious health concern for New Zealanders!
For more information, or to book a seat (at no cost), phone 0800 663 463 and speak to Adrienne, or email info@arthritis.org.nz

Great news for New Zealanders who are suffering from certain types of uveitis (a severe or chronic eye inflammation). From today a funded medicine is available. If you or someone you know suffers from this disease, visit your doctor to talk to them about treatment options.

Patients w/ #gout are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease #CKD & kidney failure, acc to new research led by Prof @austingstack of @UL @UL_Research @UL_GEMS @ULHospitals
https://t.co/ckNUEEg22Q

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