Youthtown's Youth Ambassadors to prevent Rheumatic Fever

Youthtown Youth Ambassadors to prevent Rheumatic Fever

Media release Friday 28 April 2017

Youthtown has successfully recruited over 100 Ambassadors aged 13-19,  as part of a wider Ministry of Health initiative to have rheumatic fever prevention messages championed by young people for young people.   

On Thursday (27 April), Yoshi Shimizu from the World Health Organisation, Marama Ellis from the Ministry of Health, and Dibs Patel from the Ministry of Youth Development joined Youthtown at Rosehill College to observe them in action.

First, the newest Youth Ambassadors took part in Clinical Training delivered by Dr Alison Leversha, from the Auckland District Health Board.
Discussion followed in regard to practical ways to raise awareness amongst Maori and Pacific youth about rheumatic fever, its symptoms and impact and ways to prevent the spread of the disease among their communities.
All Youthtown’s Ambassadors also receive leadership training and have the opportunity to take up a variety of development opportunities to give them a voice in their communities, build experience and qualifications. Some of the events they’ve taken part in are Pacifica, Polyfest, Henderson and Papatoetoe Night Markets.

Many have taken part in performance workshops, and this group use drama, spoken word and singing to deliver the Rheumatic Fever Prevention messages to groups of young people in Northland and Auckland - mostly at schools and community events.

On this day, they took the opportunity to perform to the 80 South Auckland and West Auckland participants on Youthtown’s Free Breakaway Holiday Programme.

Youthtown’s CEO Paula Kearns is amazed at the increased level of confidence in the group of Ambassadors working with Youthtown’s Youth Programme Team, led by Terence Slade. ‘it’s awesome to see the difference we can make in young people’s lives and their futures, particularly when it’s directly enabling them to help other young people in the community’

Youthtown is a not for profit, New Zealand-wide organisation that develops young people aged 5-18 within Youth, After School, Holiday, Sport and Outdoor programmes, to be the best they can be. Their four values (Independence, Mastery, Generosity and Belonging) are integrated into everything they do.

Facts about Rheumatic Fever: 

  • Rheumatic fever is a serious but preventable illness. Rheumatic fever can start with a sore throat caused by a ‘strep throat’ - a  bacterial infection called Group A Streptococcus (GAS). If the strep throat is not treated it may lead to rheumatic fever.
  • In New Zealand, 92% of all cases of rheumatic fever affect Māori and Pacific children.


For further information:
Paula Kearns, Chief executive Youthtown
Phone 027 444 3991