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Health researchers secure HRC funding for asthma among Pacific children


Dr Sunia Foliaki

Dr Sunia Foliaki


A Massey-led study has been awarded $971,541 by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) to explore the barriers to self-management of asthma in Pacific children.

Asthma prevalence in New Zealand is among the highest in the world with one in nine adults and one in seven children affected, with a disproportionately high and persistent burden among Pacific populations and Māori.

However, despite the availability of established and effective asthma self-management plans, asthma outcomes and control continue to be poor among Pacific populations in New Zealand.

Principal investigator Dr Sunia Foliaki, Research Officer at Massey’s Centre for Public Health Research says the 36-month study will assess the availability and usage of asthma self-management plans.  

“Pacific people are three times more likely to be hospitalised with asthma than Europeans or other New Zealanders. This can be attributed in part to health literacy regarding asthma, its appropriate management at early stages and access to appropriate medication”.

“As part of the study, we will conduct focus groups and interviews to gain a broader insight into the barriers and facilitators to self-management of asthma from the perspective and experiences of asthma clients, parents and health care providers,” says Dr Foliaki.

The study findings will be the basis for the development of a culturally appropriate and relevant intervention to support Pacific clients, families and health care providers to enable them to better manage asthma.

The funding is part of HRC’s Pacific Project grants that supports research that contributes to better health outcomes for Pacific peoples, families and communities.

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