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Māori respiratory health crisis

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation
Media Statement
For immediate use

20 February, 2008

Who’s going to do something about Māori respiratory health?

Māori have been dying from asthma and other respiratory conditions at two-and-a-half times the rate of non-Māori, according to startling newly-released research.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation’s Executive Director Jane Patterson today commented on the findings of Hauora: Maori Standards of Health IV, published by Otago University.

It’s widely accepted that there is around the same prevalence among Māori as among non-Māori of asthma and other common respiratory conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

However, the findings, by Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare research group at the University’s School of Medicine in Wellington, add to the evidence that Māori have much worse health outcomes associated with these conditions.

The report also concluded that hospital admissions for very young Māori children with asthma were about 60 percent higher than for their non- Māori peers.

“We’re in the 21st century and we still have conditions that are largely preventable or very receptive to primary health care treatment affecting New Zealanders and particularly Māori so badly. It’s not good enough. “Jane says.

“Many Kiwis may not be aware that asthma is still the leading cause of hospital admissions among New Zealand children and now we have evidence that very young Māori children, aged one to four, are admitted to hospital with asthma and respiratory illness much more than their peers among the general population,” Jane says.

“The Foundation is laying down a challenge to the DHBs, the Ministry of Health and other Government agencies, the Government and Parliament to change this ugly reality. Please support us and work with us on this.”

“We know there is a lot of goodwill out there, but frankly, actions speak louder than words,” she says.


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