NZ Herald nzherald.co.nz 30 Apr, 2021 18:30 am

Northland mother describes 6-year-old's meningococcal death

Northland mother describes 6-year-old's meningococcal death
Just six hours after he was picked up from school, Takarua fell victim to the disease.

Photo / Michael Cunningham As he lay dying from meningococcal disease, one of 6-year-old Takarua Ngakuru's final acts was to try and stop his mum from crying.Photo / Michael Cunningham However, Tui and staff from Kaikohe's Māori health provider Te Hau Ora O Ngāpuhi believe a valuable school throat-swabbing programme - which provided key health surveillence opportunities but was abandoned by the Northland District Health Board following last year's Covid lockdown - could have saved the young boy's life.Photo / Michael Cunningham Tui described Takarua, her eighth child, as markedly different from her other boys - his caring nature often the source of teasing by his older siblings.Photo / Michael Cunningham Desperate for help, a scared Tui entered Te Hau Ora O Ngāpuhi's building, pretending to look for a councillor.

Photo / Michael Cunningham Reflecting on her journey, Tui was close to tears trying to convey her gratitude.Photo / Michael Cunningham Poa also referenced the importance of effective communication between health organisations to ensure at-risk whānau were supported quickly.

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