Freemasons Paediatric Fellowship - University of Otago

In 1982 the report of the 1977 Committee on child health was published. Although it stated that a New Zealand child did have a better chance of survival than ever before, it suggested that the health care record for children could not rest on its past achievements.

Mindful of this, a meeting was set up between the Wellington Clinical School Paediatrics Department (part of Otago School of Medicine) and a contracted staff member of Freemasons New Zealand. At this inaugural meeting they were able to discuss and highlight the critical factors in child health care in New Zealand today.

It was believed by those attending the meeting that one of the basic problems facing child health in New Zealand today was the lack of research funds available to pay a research registrar or registrars based at Wellington Children's Hospital.

Such a grant would ensure proper long term co ordination of research activities, the opportunity to investigate child health issues, and would also help retain highly qualified medical staff in New Zealand who would otherwise be forced to undertake research overseas.

At that meeting the critical factors facing child health in New Zealand were highlighted as:

  • That there was a high incidence of respiratory diseases in New Zealand children especially amongst the Maori.
  • Further research was required into the problems of the newborn.
  • Research into morbidity. The need for up to date data on child cancers, accidents involving children and childhood anaemia.

Freemasons New Zealand undertook this challenge in 1988 by way of a Fellowship- The NZ Freemasons Postgraduate Fellowship in Paediatrics and Child Health.

Discussions are held each year between The Freemasons Charity and the Otago University School of Medicine to award a new Fellowship.

Since 1988, including the $500,000 granted to set up the original fund, the commitment of The Freemasons Charity in its support of the Chair of Paediatrics exceeds $1.5 million dollars.