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National asthma management strategy needed – Ó Caoláin

6 May, 2008

In a statement marking World Asthma Day today (6 May), Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called on the Government to formulate a national strategy to address the condition, especially as it effects children in growing numbers.

He stated, "On World Asthma Day it is important that we acknowledge the impact of this condition which affects some 470,000 people in Ireland. It is a debilitating, often disabling and sometimes fatal condition that affects all age groups, but especially the very young and older people. Asthma makes major demands on the health services with over 25,000 people presenting with the condition at A&E units annually. There has been a very worrying increase in the incidence of the condition among teenagers.

"Given that Ireland now has the fourth highest rate of asthma in the world it is clear that a comprehensive Government-led strategy is needed. Such a strategy would shift the emphasis from the current dependence on crisis management and hospital care for asthma patients to pro-active disease management based in the primary care system. At present our under-developed primary care system is not geared to such an approach. However, its proper development with pro-active care for conditions such as asthma would be both more beneficial for patients and more cost-effective for the healthcare system overall.

"I commend the work of the Asthma Society of Ireland and I strongly urge the Government to act on their progressive proposals." ENDS

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