Collective approach to tackling asthma in kura

Bringing asthma services into the school has been welcomed by Maraenui Bilingual Kura Principal Chris Worsley here with Kysharnie Kaukau (12) and Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri’s School Based Nurse Te Rina Murphy.
September 3, 2018

Thanks to the initiative of School-Based Nurse Te Rina Murphy from Te Kupenga Hauora - Ahuriri, Maraenui Bilingual Kura will have its first Asthma Clinic in term 3.

It is a collaboration led by Te Rina with support from Public Health Nurse Kelly Douglas and Breathe Hawke’s Bay, which will provide opportunity for tamariki to be seen by health professionals in the school, accompanied by their whānau.

Te Rina has been working in the school delivering her clinics while in the classroom. She has gained support from principal and teachers as well as buy-in from tamariki to deliver health services in this way. " I have found that seeing tamariki and whānau in the school environment works so well. We can bring the whānau into the school where they are familiar and feel safe."

Last year during the winter months asthma was particularly prevalent. It was contributing to tauira (students) taking a large number of sick days. Te Rina arranged for education sessions with kura staff delivered by local respiratory health specialists Breathe Hawke’s Bay and has helped the school monitor asthma occurrences since. “It’s important that we understand why our tamariki are away and if they are sick, what the cause is. The education and clinic service help us further define these reasons,” explains Maraenui Bilingual Kura Principal Chris Worsley.

According to the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, 1 in 7 tamariki in New Zealand take medication for asthma and the illness is responsible for 586,000 school days being missed each year. "Our goal is to keep our tamariki in school and out of hospital," says Te Rina.

If successful Te Rina would like to see the initiative rolled out to other kura that she works with. “There is a real value in working in a collective.”

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