New report reveals true impact of asthma on South Australians

South Australian children have the highest rate of asthma hospitalisation in Australia

ADELAIDE: Asthma Australia will release a new report on 7 September 2018 revealing the extent of asthma hospitalisations and deaths in South Australia (SA) to coincide with Asthma Week.

The rate of asthma hospitalisations in SA is higher than the national average, according to the State of Asthma in South Australia report.

The report is being released in Asthma Week which is held in the first week of September each year to raise awareness of the condition.

South Australian children have the highest hospitalisation rate in Australia with a total of 361 children per 100,000 population admitted to hospital in SA, which is much higher than the Australian average (309). According to the report 68% of children with asthma in South Australia have an Asthma Action Plan.

“Asthma is a chronic disease that can be life-threatening, but with good support, people with asthma can manage their condition every day, and live a full and productive life,” she says. “In 2016, 45 people in South Australia died because of their asthma. Around 70% of those deaths may have been prevented1. We need to be doing all we can to make sure that people with asthma are best supported to avoid these preventable deaths,” said Michele Goldman, CEO of Asthma Australia

“Good asthma management is the goal. We need to provide people with ongoing advice, an asthma action plan, regular asthma check-ups with their GP, and taking preventer medication as prescribed.”

Ellen Heinze-Faulkner lives in Gawler Belt with her husband and two children, four-year-old Marley has asthma. Ellen said:

“Marley’s first asthma attack was in May this year, he was having his puffer but his breathing kept getting worse throughout the day. We took him to hospital and he was pretty freaked out, but he was given medication and oxygen and they kept him in for 24 hours until he stabilised.

I didn’t really know much about asthma, so when we were leaving I asked the doctors what I could do as a parent, they referred me to Asthma Australia’s COACH program. Our Asthma Educator, Clara has been an absolute godsend. The advice and information she’s given has been so helpful. It’s even helped me to educate my husband more – he has mild asthma himself but we’ve learned things that he didn’t know, and Marley is doing well now.”

The State of Asthma in South Australia report (PDF 2.6MB) provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of asthma on South Australians including prevalence, hospitalisations, deaths and asthma management plan ownership.

Key statistics include:

  • More than one in ten (10.6%) of South Australians have asthma, representing approximately 173,100 people.
  • 145.5 per 100,000 South Australians were hospitalised due to asthma in 2014/15, the third highest rate in Australia and 8% higher than the Australian average.
  • There were 5,754 emergency department presentations for asthma in SA in 2016-17 and one-third of these were avoidable.
  • Almost two thirds of South Australians (64%) do not have an Asthma Action Plan in place.

Ms Goldman said: “We are pleased to have the South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing; Stephen Wade, launching this report today and we look forward to working with the South Australian Government to ensure that we’re doing all we can to support people with asthma.”

The report will be officially launched by the Honourable Stephen Wade MLC, South Australia’s Minister for Health and Wellbeing on Friday 7 September at 10 am.