NZ Respiratory Conference: kids being sick is not inevitable
New Zealand Respiratory Conference
19-20 September, InterContinental Hotel, Wellington
Whakanui Oranga – Making a Difference
For children, including those with a respiratory condition, being sick is not inevitable or just ‘bad luck’
Why do children get sick? Being sick is not inevitable or just ‘bad luck’ said Associate Professor Nikki Turner at the NZ Respiratory Conference. There is considerable evidence showing that living in economic poverty makes people, and children in particular, at much higher risk of being sick. And not just occasionally sick, but also having recurrent illnesses, being admitted to hospital more frequently and ending up with long-term chronic conditions such as bronchiectasis.
Why is this? While some factors seem obvious, such as living in damp, cold and overcrowded houses and the costs to accessing the doctor, other factors may be less obvious, such as the stressful environment affecting our immune system, the effect of long-term poor nutrition, and the challenges with the chaos that can occur in households struggling with limited funds.
There is a well-documented link between poor respiratory health and the social determinants of health. Asthma Foundation chief executive, Angela Francis believes that the time is now to take action. Reducing poverty, better housing, and improving access to primary health care are good places to start. “Some people may ask whether we can afford to do these things in tough economic times; the real question is, how can we not?”
Associate Professor Nikki Turner and Angela Francis, Asthma Foundation chief executive, are available to be interviewed. Please contact Cindy Borrie, Communications Consultant on 0274 433 905.
• Over 600,000 New Zealanders have asthma
• 11% of adults and 14% of children take medication for asthma (unchanged in 5 years- MOH ReportThe Health of New Zealand Adults 2011/12)
• $1,200 a day to treat a child in hospital with asthma
• 8,000 asthma hospitalisations and 2,800 day cases in 2011
Associate Professor Dr Nikki Turner - is an associate professor in the School of Population Health, University of Auckland, and works part time as a general practitioner in Wellington. She is a member of the Executive and health spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group. She is the director of the Conectus Centre, a University of Auckland collaboration of child health services. Nikki's academic interests are in primary health care, child poverty, preventive child health and immunisation and she represents the RNZCGP (College of General Practitioners) in child health issues.