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Launch of Child Asthma Plan and Symptom Diary

20 June 2000 Speech Notes
Annette King, Minister Of Health
Miramar North Kindergarten

Thank you for inviting me here today to launch the Child Asthma Plan and the Symptom Diary.

I am very excited about this new resource and am pleased to see you showing your support of this excellent new tool that will guide you and your children towards better asthma management.

The resource has been designed to be easy to use, and we can all be grateful for that. Parents and caregivers of children with asthma have an important responsibility to look after and protect those children. Anything that can be done to help parents and caregivers, and ultimately, of course, the children themselves, is more than welcome.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation and its Child Asthma Plan committee are to be congratulated for their initiative and commonsense in putting this plan and symptom diary together.

Asthma, as you all know, is very common in New Zealand. It affects approximately one in six New Zealanders and it usually begins in childhood.

The prevalence of childhood asthma has increased over the last 20-30 years. This is a worldwide trend, not a New Zealand phenomenon. The seriousness of the problem is underlined by the fact that an estimated 44 percent of New Zealand children experience asthma symptoms at some time before they are 15 years of age.


Fortunately, few New Zealand children now die from asthma, although a lot are still hospitalised. Improved medication and clinical management of asthma have both played a significant part in preventing deaths.

Asthma plans, such as this resource being launched today, are an important tool in helping to educate children, as well as parents and caregivers, about the management of their asthma.

The Child Asthma Plan and Symptom Diary complements the “Tamariki Huango” plan I launched during Asthma Week.

I said at that launch that the Tamariki Huango resource was special because it was Maori in inspiration and design. The resource I am launching today is also special because it will enable all parents and caregivers and their children to participate in a plan designed to keep more children healthy and out of hospital.

Mäori children are more often hospitalised with asthma than other children. The hospitalisation rate for Mäori children is more than twice the rate of non-Mäori children. Pacific children also have a high rate of hospitalisation from Asthma.

Access to primary health care and subsequent good personal management of asthma are important components of reducing this disparity in rates.

Adequate preventive medical care and asthma management by children and their families is important for effectively controlling asthma and preventing severe attacks.

As I said at the beginning, the resource being launched here today has two key parts, the Symptom Diary and the Child Asthma Plan.

The knowledge and management skills gained through use of the symptom diary will be used by parents, doctors, nurses and asthma educators as the basis for individualised Child Asthma Plans. The focus on recording and assessing symptoms will make an important contribution to the effective management of children’s asthma.

Copies of the plan and diary and supporting information packs are being sent to IPAs, GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists, asthma educators and public hospitals throughout New Zealand, and both the plan and the symptom diary will be available free of charge.

This initiative will be an extremely useful resource assisting families to provide a safe and supportive environment for children who have asthma, and to help these children live a full life achieving all they wish to do. There cannot be a much worthier aim than that. Once again I congratulate everyone who has been involved in bringing this initiative together. I am sure your satisfaction at the end result will be even further enhanced when you see it being used successfully. Thank you again for inviting me to share this important occasion.


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