World Asthma Day campaign provides education

File Photo.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) have created a campaign for schools to take part in on World Asthma Day, Tuesday, May 7.

The campaign aims to encourage students to know what to do in an asthma emergency.

One in seven children (133,000) have asthma in New Zealand. It’s also estimated that 586,000 school days are lost each year due to asthma related symptoms in children. 

World Asthma Day and is celebrated around the world to raise the profile and continued education of asthma. A fun and engaging campaign for schools to celebrate World Asthma Day will be run by Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ), encouraging students to know what to do in an asthma emergency.

Letitia O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ says this is the second year they have run the World Asthma Day schools' campaign.

“Last year we had over 90 schools participate on the day by doing activities or fundraising for the Foundation. We received great feedback from schools as the students had a fabulous time doing the activities while also learning about asthma.

“Statistics show there will be at least four children in a class of 30 students who have asthma, so we know this is a very important topic. This May we’ll be providing free activity packs for schools with a focus on asthma emergency awareness – encouraging students to learn what to do in an asthma emergency and asking schools to check their asthma emergency kit is up-to-date.

“Making these preparations in advance could very well save lives,” says Letitia. 

ARFNZ is a charitable organisation that strives to provide resources and education across all areas of the community, despite receiving no government funding.

Some of the Foundation’s school-related initiatives include Sailor the Puffer Fish, a musical show educating primary school children about asthma and was recently launched in Te Reo Māori.

ARFNZ also provides a ‘Teachers’ Asthma Toolkit’, designed for teachers to have important information about asthma in one place – via an interactive website.

ARFNZ is greatly encouraging students to fundraise this World Asthma Day to aid asthma education, prevention and management in the community. There are prizes up for grabs – for every $25 a school raises gives them one entry into the draw to win one of three scooters, kindly donated by Micro Scooters NZ.

“Winning schools could use the scooters as a prize for an outstanding leader or someone who demonstrates a positive attitude within their school community,” says Letitia.

Student fundraisers gain valuable life skills such as leadership and confidence.

“In a school where leadership is encouraged amongst young ladies, we were breathless with excitement to be given this opportunity and get the school involved for this cause,” says Annie, Baradene College of the Sacred Heart student and past fundraiser.

World Asthma Day at schools is open to early childhood education centres, primary schools, intermediate schools and secondary schools.

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