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Pacific families warned to stay on asthma-alert this winter

03 May 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Ruci Farrell - ruci.farrell@pmn.co.nz

A health academic is warning parents to be vigilant in managing their children's asthma, following a new report showing increasing numbers of Pacific and Māori children being hospitalised for the condition.

Photo/ Māori Television.

The Massey University report found an increase in the rates of Kiwi children hospitalised with asthma between 2002 and 2016.

It also found those rates were highest among Pacific and Māori children.

Otago University's Associate Professor Jim Reid says Kiwis are too casual about asthma, which can have fatal consequences with around 70 people dying from the illness each year.

He's encouraging parents to ensure better control of asthma medication and regular checks for their children, before the onset of winter.

"There are two ways to treat asthma, either you treat the symptoms by using a reliever inhaler or you treat the cause of the symptoms by using a preventor inhaler."

A new health initiative in Northland is hoping to reduce asthmatic cases that result in hospitalising Pacific and Maori children. 

The initiative is being led by Northland pharmacists where questionnaires will be given out to customers buying asthma medication.

The results will then determine whether or not the customer needs to be re-assessed by a GP, or change medication. 

Pharmacist Iain Buchanan says the programme will allow patients to confidently engage more with their local doctors.

"We're looking at being able to assess 2000 patients Northland-wide," he says. "With that data... it may prove that there isn't a good result for ...a way to engage with people with kids who have asthma being as well-controlled as it should be."

"We're just trying to improve the asthma outcome for Māori and Pasifika people."

Listen to the full interview on Pacific Breakfast:


Tags: Health, Pacific, asthma, children, maori,