Racial Inequities in Cardiovascular Disease in New Zealand

The literature is replete with studies pertaining to ethnic inequities in healthcare. A thorny subject that has been described for decades and yet has few remedial solutions. The pattern of ethnic inequities in healthcare is a global phenomenon that is not confined to any specific race or culture. Worldwide, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the topmost cause of death and a substantial burden on healthcare resources. In New Zealand CVD is the leading cause of death, accounting for 40% of all deaths annually. Diminished life expectancy is one example of racial inequity in healthcare between Māori and Pākehā (the non-indigenous population). This review attempts to clarify the muddy waters of 175 years of post-colonial healthcare inequity in New Zealand and in particular the causes of inequity in the incidence of CVD and mortality in Māori. Such dialogue will hopefully stimulate discussion among policy makers and clinicians to redress the ethnic inequities in healthcare.


Warren Miner-Williams

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