17 Jul 2014

Vow to improve Maori health

9:36 pm on 17 July 2014

The Asthma Foundation says it's committed to improving respiratory health for Maori.

It hopes to achieve it through updating the now out-of-date 2002 Guidelines for Asthma.

It said it had asked the Ministry of Health for funding to rewrite the guidelines, but that was declined.

Medical director Dr Kyle Perrin said the foundation believed health professionals couldn't do their job adequately without up-to-date guidelines tailored for Aotearoa.

In a response earlier this week, the Ministry of Health said it had been told by health professionals they prefer online tools, such as the Cochrane Library - an international medical database.

But Dr Perrin said most international guidelines included medications that were either not available in New Zealand nor funded by Pharmac.

He said those rules neither addressed issues for Māori, who suffered a greater burden from asthma than non-Māori.

Tangata whenua are four times more likely to die of asthma than non-Māori.