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Theatrical performances carrying hard-hitting rheumatic fever prevention messages were piloted in 10 South Auckland schools in late 2014.

A further 35 dramatic fever performances are planned for schools in Auckland and Northland from March to May 2015.

The initiative is part of the Ministry’s Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme (RFPP) partnership with the Ministry of Youth Development (MYD).

Auckland theatrical performance group, the Phoenix Trust, delivered the edutainment programme using drama, dance and music, to 10 low-decile schools in South Auckland.

Student feedback on the performance was overwhelmingly positive.

“I didn’t know that rheumatic fever was still a serious problem in New Zealand.  I’m more informed now that the team has come in.  Thanks to all those who have made this happen,” said 18-year-old Sarah.

Feedback from 13-year-old Sione was: “It was funny -- I liked it a lot. It was really cool.”

RFPP lead Dr Chrissie Pickin viewed and assessed the trust’s first public performance before it was taken into schools. She was delighted with the 20-minute show.

“The young actors delivering the performance gave us our key rheumatic fever prevention messages with humour, emotion and a real dramatic punch,” she said.

“The music and dance was wonderful and I’m extremely hopeful that the young people this performance is aimed at – Māori and Pacific aged 13 to 19 years – will take on-board messages about how they can prevent rheumatic fever.”

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