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Lack of funding for overlooked problem - 29th June 2012

There is currently no government funding for specifically addressing child continence problems in New Zealand.

Pediatrician and child continence expert, Dr Bobby Tsang believes that funding aimed at addressing child continence is urgently needed.

“The burden of child incontinence is under recognised. Ministry of Health funded specialist continence nurse services are available for adults but not children,” he says.

Dr Tsang would like to see the problem taken seriously as he believes many are unaware of how common continence problems are for New Zealand children.

“It is a problem affecting 1 to 2 children in each class which unless appropriately addressed can have negative consequences which last into adulthood.

“Surveys find school children consider wetting their pants in class as one of the worst things that could happen to them after losing a parent or going blind!” he says.

Dr Tsang is not alone in his call for funding in this sector.

Child continence nurse, Jacqueline Brown would like to see funds allocated and further research into the area.

“The scale of children’s continence issues in New Zealand is unknown as there have been no New Zealand studies to look at the incidence in our population.

“Anecdotally however, the evidence suggests that there a large number of children with wetting and soiling problems,” she says.

Both Dr Tsang and Jacqueline agree that early detection and treatment is important when dealing with a child suffering with incontinence problems.

“The importance of addressing children’s continence issues early is vital to prevent physical and social problems as an adult.

“Incontinence affects a child’s education and social development and can also impact negatively on the entire family,” Jacqueline says.

The link between incontinence and child abuse is of concern to Dr Tsang and Jacqueline.

“There have been numerous high profile cases of child abuse in the last decade that were triggered by children’s faecal incontinence or bedwetting,” Jacqueline says.

Press Release written by New Zealand Continence Association