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Media Statement - Paediatric Society backs Space to Breathe Campaign - 15 April 2009

The Paediatric Society is backing the Space to Breathe campaign, which is launched by PHARMAC in Taranaki today.

Society spokesman Dr Phillip Pattemore says, as doctors working in the child health area, they have long been aware of the health problems asthma can cause for young children and their families.  About 20% of New Zealand children have asthma.

"The Society is pleased to see the development of a campaign that will increase understanding and knowledge about how to manage asthma, and aimed at young children," says Dr Pattemore.

"In particular it is pleasing to see a campaign focussing on improving access for Maori and Pacific children.  Studies have shown that these groups suffer more asthma symptoms and hospital admissions than others, and thus a more proactive approach is warranted.  Increased understanding about how to live with asthma, and correct use of the available medicines, should have benefits in improving health and reducing hospital admissions.  This programme will have a role in helping children with asthma whether milder or more severe."

The Paediatric Society of New Zealand is a multidisciplinary organisation of Child Health Professionals from throughout New Zealand.  The Society has helped to develop the campaign that is launched today, by providing expert clinical input and peer review on all clinical aspects of the programme.



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