South Australia must take positive steps to lose its reputation as the state with the worst record on asthma, health advocates claim.
Asthma Australia says SA has the highest rate of asthma-related hospitalisations in the country, with 3700 annual admissions for 180,000 people living with asthma.
The organisation has called on the state government to implement its designed a state-based management plan which could cut the rate by 20 per cent over four years, and has urged the SA government to fund it.
Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman said it was time for SA to be proactive.
“We have seen great progress with other state governments including the funding provided by the Victorian government to tackle thunderstorm asthma.
“Despite the highest rate of hospitalisations for asthma in the country, and clear risk factors including the ageing population, the South Australian government has not funded asthma services in the past.
In the last year South Australia has experienced extreme heat waves, bush fires and the Port Augusta ash cloud, all of which could trigger asthma symptoms, Ms Goldman said.
The state also has an ageing population who are more vulnerable to complications related to asthma flare-ups.
The Asthma Management Program costs $4.5 million, but will lead to almost double that in healthcare and productivity savings, she said.
It includes Asthma Australia’s COACH program – a telephone support which has been successful elsewhere, with 71 per cent of participants achieving a clinically significant improvement in asthma control.
“This is a world leading approach based on Australian and international research and the state government stands to make significant savings of around $2 for every $1 spent.
“We are hopeful that the state government will invest in implementing a world leading program to take action on asthma.