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World Asthma Day: Getting Asthma Emergency Kits Into Kiwi Primary Schools

This World Asthma Day, Tuesday 2 May, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation is aiming to get Asthma Emergency Kits into New Zealand primary schools.

"The theme for World Asthma Day 2023 is Asthma Care for All," explains Foundation Chief Executive Letitia Harding. "We wanted to take a really practical approach to that theme and do something that will make a meaningful difference to the health of Kiwi kids with asthma this coming winter."

One in eight New Zealand children has asthma and an estimated 3,000 children are hospitalised annually due to asthma. Approximately 350,000 school days are lost because of this condition. "Every classroom, in every school will have a child with asthma. We want to ensure schools are equipped with appropriate medicine for an asthma emergency, and clear instructions for educators on how to help their students," explains Ms Harding.

In the lead up to World Asthma Day on Tuesday 2 May, the Foundation is calling for donations and support from generous individuals and businesses to help reach their goal. "Every dollar raised will go towards providing Asthma Emergency Kits to schools in need. The Foundation receives no Government funding, so again we are calling on the generosity of New Zealanders to help us do this vital work. $20,000 would mean around 400 primary schools would receive a kit, and if we can raise more - even better"

The Foundation received funding from the NH Taylor Charitable Trust, the Lottery Grants Board and Te Taura Whiri I te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission) to provide 200 Asthma Emergency Kits to communities in need earlier this year. These kits were distributed to a group of decile one schools across New Zealand and are being rolled out to schools in the Tairāwhiti region.

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The kits are one of a range of resources that the Foundation offers to educators. "We know that educators play a key role in helping children with asthma. Whether it’s being aware of a student’s triggers, or recognising when they are having an asthma attack, educators can make a big difference in the day-to-day management of a child’s condition," explains Ms Harding.

"That is why over the years we have developed practical resources like our free online Teachers’ Toolkit and free digital asthma classroom, alongside our live action asthma education shows in te reo Māori and English. Our Asthma Emergency Kits have been available to purchase through our website, but we recognise that for some schools cost has been a barrier."

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