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Asthma Australia calls on South Australian government to take action on asthma

ADELAIDE: Asthma Australia is calling on the South Australian government to fund the first state-wide Asthma Management Program in Australia.

Asthma affects 180,000 people in South Australia and the state has the highest rate of asthma hospitalisations in the country.

The Asthma Management Program proposed by Asthma Australia aims to reduce South Australia’s 3,700 annual asthma hospitalisations by 20 per cent over 4 years.

Michele Goldman, CEO of Asthma Australia said, “A high hospitalisation rate in a relatively small, concentrated population means South Australia is perfectly placed to benefit from the first state-wide Asthma Management Program in Australia.

This is a world leading approach based on Australian and international research and the state government stands to make significant savings of around $2 for every $1 spent.”

An investment of $4m in the program would provide an estimated saving of $8.68m in healthcare and productivity costs.

The COACH program that provides telephone support will form part of the South Australian service. Where it has already been implemented the program has seen great success, with 71 per cent of participants achieving a clinically significant improvement in asthma control.

Having good asthma control make it less likely a person will need to take time off study or work due to asthma and helps to keep them out of hospital.

Sixty-eight-year-old Anne Bowen is an Adelaide resident who was diagnosed with asthma at age 60; “Throughout my life my asthma was out of control and caused me unnecessary misery. It made bringing up twin girls and a boy really hard at times, and almost killed me at the age of 60.

After I was diagnosed I received help from a local Asthma Educator through Asthma Australia. She wrote a report to my GP which really helped, and I have followed her advice religiously ever since. Because of this I have not had any problems with my asthma for the last 5 years.”

Environmental factors can greatly affect people with asthma and in the last year South Australia has experienced extreme heat waves, bush fires and the Port Augusta ash cloud, all of which could trigger asthma symptoms.

The state also has an ageing population who are more vulnerable to complications related to asthma flare-ups.

Ms Goldman said, “We have seen great progress with other state governments including the funding provided by the Victorian government to tackle thunderstorm asthma. Despite the highest rate of hospitalisations for asthma in the country, and clear risk factors including the ageing population, the South Australian government has not funded asthma services in the past. We are hopeful that the state government will invest in implementing a world leading program to take action on asthma.”

END

Media contact – Annette Stenhouse

0416 861 732

annette.stenhouse@londonagency.com.au

 

Michele Goldman is available for interview

Anne Bowen is available for interview

 

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