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Tackling kids’ asthma part of $4.2m awarded for Māori health

****Embargoed until 6am, Thursday, 6 June 2013****

Tackling kids’ asthma in school part of $4.2m awarded for Māori health research

A comprehensive school-based programme to help reduce the burden of asthma for Māori children has received $1.2 million in the annual Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) funding round.

Ms Bernadette Jones (Ngāti Apa, Nga Wairiki) from the University of Otago will use the funding – part of $4.2 million awarded through the HRC’s Rangahau Hauora Māori investment stream – to develop a Māori-centred asthma toolkit for children that will help primary schools better support asthmatic children. Ms Jones and her team will then assess the effect of the toolkit on children’s school absences, asthma knowledge, self-management and control, and quality of life. 

“Significant improvements in health outcomes could be made by increasing asthma support for Māori children who are twice as likely to be hospitalised as non-Māori children. Children with asthma face many difficulties: they often feel marginalised due to the inability to take part in normal activities, especially Māori children who suffer more severe symptoms and have more time off school,” says Ms Jones.

“How schools support children with asthma can significantly impact on their asthma control and set up psychological and behavioural patterns that may influence their longer term control or adherence to treatment.”

Dr Beverley Lawton (Ngāti Porou) from the University of Otago has also been awarded $1.2 million to examine why pregnant, or recently delivered, Māori women may be at increased risk of severe acute maternal morbidity (SAMM), whether the severity of disease is preventable, and what impact any disproportionate burden of harm has on Māori women, their whānau and the health service. This national project will study women admitted to an intensive care or high dependency unit during pregnancy or within 42 days of delivery.

“In New Zealand, little is known about the quality of maternal health care for Māori women other than the resultant poor perinatal and maternal death outcomes. The reasons behind maternal and infant health disparities need to be examined at every level of the maternity service, both to fill in the knowledge gaps and to facilitate the development of interventions to reduce these disparities,” says Dr Lawton.

Mr Andrew Sporle (Ngāti Apa, Rangitāne) of The University of Auckland will also use his research grant to help reduce the rates of preventable deaths in Māori. He will undertake a statistical analysis of data from the death records from 1996 onwards as well as Census. The information produced will identify key regional, gender and age-associated differences related to preventable Māori mortality rates.

“Working in partnership with the National Hauora Coalition and a district health board, we will develop processes to include this research information into the planning, delivery and monitoring of health and social interventions,” says Mr Sporle.

Finally, Massey University Associate Professor Helen Moewaka Barnes (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine) will investigate how Māori understand themselves and their health, and examine how these different ‘health identities’ affect their interactions and engagement with health interventions and messages.

For details of the 2013 HRC Rangahau Hauora Māori project recipients, see below or go to www.hrc.govt.nz/funding-opportunities/recipients to view the full list of project recipients.


Associate Professor Helen Moewaka Barnes (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine), Massey University
Māori health identities: affecting and driving health?
36 months, $666,299


Ms Bernadette Jones (Ngāti Apa, Nga Wairiki), University of Otago
He Kura: Asthma support for Māori tamariki at school
36 months, $1,199,064


Dr Beverley Lawton (Ngāti Porou), University of Otago
Addressing the burden and preventability of severe acute maternal morbidity
36 months, $1,199,906


Mr Andrew Sporle (Ngāti Apa, Rangitāne), The University of Auckland
Preventable Māori mortality
36 months, $1,199, 945

ENDS 

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