The country's "nits epidemic" is under attack with the introduction of free head lice treatment to families in low decile schools, the Government says.
Funding of nearly $1 million is being provided by the Ministry of Social Development to tackle the troublesome parasite, minister Paula Bennett said today.
"Although nits are found in all schools, children from low-decile schools, and particularly their parents, could use help in dealing with nits," she said.
"Treatment can typically cost $30. Combine that with several heads in the household and the problem becomes extremely expensive. This initiative will allow for whole families to be treated if necessary."
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Each school would have a special chair installed - similar to that at a hairdressers - and enough combs and bottles of treatment to destroy the relentless vermin, Ms Bennett said.
Schools in Christchurch, Kaitaia, Opotiki, Ruatoria, Taumaranui, Porirua and Hastings would be the first to roll out the treatment that will be extended to 117 low decile schools nationwide.
Mrs Bennett says the initial rollout will cover 24,000 children.