Puffer Fish educates 14,000 children on Asthma

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Asthma and Respiratory Foundation

Wellington, July 18, 2017

Sailor the Puffer Fish is nearing the finale of his 2017 North Island tour, educating 14,000 school children about asthma, tips on how to manage it, and what to do in an emergency.
Musical show in schools
Sailor the Puffer Fish is a musical show performed alongside entertainer Chris Lam Sam, who visited primary schools and early childhood education centres in Wellington, Huntly, Tauranga, Hamilton, and Auckland between May and July.
The show has already proven to be effective. A week after Chris had performed at a school in Waikato, both a student and a teacher suffered from serious asthma attacks in which ambulances had to be called.
Sam said, “Everyone knew how that they could help before the ambulances arrived.” says Chris Lam Sam.

Waikato Primary School was grateful for the education they received well before they had to put it in use.

‘Asthma-Friendly School
This year the show was performed at 70 schools who will now be invited to be certified as an Asthma Friendly School. To qualify, the schools will need an asthma policy and a first aid kit containing an up-to-date reliever inhaler.
“The certification means parents and caregivers can easily identify which schools have staff that are educated, and know what steps to take in an asthma emergency,” Letitia O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand said.

Sailor’s tour was funded by donations given to the Foundation during their April appeal. “Keeping this education free for schools and early childhood centres plays a large part in Sailor’s ongoing success,” Sam said.

Waikato contribution

Sailor the Puffer Fish was founded by Asthma Waikato who delivered the show in the Waikato region. Sailor has now been taken on board by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, to increase awareness and education about asthma by delivering the show at a national level.
The final shows of the 2017 tour will take place on July 24 and 31 in the Wellington area. If you are interested in becoming a certified Asthma Friendly School then please contact the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation New Zealand on (04) 494592.
About Asthma in New Zealand:

Over 521,000 people take medication for asthma − one in nine adults and one in seven children (Source: New Zealand Health Survey).

Large numbers of children (3,552 or 410.3 per 100,000 in 2015) are still being admitted to hospital with asthma, and some of these will have had a potentially life-threatening attack.

By far the highest number of people being admitted to hospital with asthma are Māori, Pacific peoples and people living in the most deprived areas: Māori are 3.4 times and Pacific peoples 3.9 times more likely to be hospitalised than Europeans or other New Zealanders, and people living in the most deprived areas are 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalised than those in the least deprived areas.

The cost of asthma to the nation is over $858 million per year (Telfar Barnard et al., 2016).


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