Reports & Statistic

National Asthma Strategy 2006-08

Asthma has long been recognised as a major health problem in Australia, with the proportion of the population with the disease being high by international standards. People with asthma report a reduced quality of life and more days off work or study, and are more likely to suffer from depression. Asthma-related costs to the health system and to general productivity are also considerable.

In Australia there is a growing body of research and action that focuses on the problem of asthma. Current activity is building on the foundation laid by almost two decades of concerted effort led by the National Asthma Council and supported by the Asthma Foundations. Activity is now supported by government-funded structures under the National Health Priority Area initiative (the National Asthma Reference Group and the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring). Future action must also be seen within the wider context of structures to address other health priority areas and chronic disease overall, such as the National Chronic Disease Strategy and the National Service Improvement Frameworks.

This Strategy seeks to encourage people to join a long-term partnership to improve asthma care. It aims to go beyond outlining public policy and be a useful resource for all those involved in asthma care, including people with asthma and their carers, health professionals and managers, asthma organisations and governments. It is intended for use over the three-year period 2006–2008, after which a new strategy that reflects current practice and understanding will be required.

A vision for asthma care in Australia

It is hoped that through the multilevel approach supported by this document, we will achieve a situation where:

  • there is greater awareness of asthma symptoms and management in the general community
  • quality of life and health outcomes for people with asthma are improved and the burden on individuals, families and communities is reduced
  • people are no longer at greater risk of poorly managed asthma because of cultural, environmental, economic, geographic or lifestyle factors
  • asthma care is evidence-based where this is possible or based on the best available information where it is not
  • barriers to self-management practices are reduced and self-management is well supported through a focus on consumer empowerment and improved access to information and services
  • service provision is designed to respond to the needs of people with asthma and their carers and recognises the need for linkages between primary and hospital care
  • research into prevention, early intervention and management of asthma is enhanced, increasing our capacity to answer the many questions still posed by this disease.

Review of the National Asthma Action Plan

Ms Maree Davidson, Davidson Consulting Services

The review was overseen by:

  • Dr Christine Jenkins (National Asthma Reference Group)
  • Dr Ron Tomlins (National Asthma Council)
  • Ms Kristine Whorlow (National Asthma Council)
  • Mr Michael Cassar (Asthma Foundations of Australia)

National Asthma Strategy Steering Committee

  • Christine Jenkins, National Asthma Reference Group
  • Michael Cassar, Asthma Foundations of Australia
  • Kristine Whorlow, National Asthma Council
  • Ron Tomlins, National Asthma Council

Technical Writers

  • Elizabeth Hall, Ampersand Editorial & Design
  • Jenny Zangger, Ampersand Editorial & Design

Stakeholders that provided comment on the draft strategy

  • ACT Health
  • Action on Smoking and Health Australia
  • Asthma Foundations of Australia
  • Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
  • Australian Cochrane Airways Group
  • Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Lung Health Promotion Centre
  • National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • National Asthma Council
  • Pharmaceutical Health and Rational Use of Medicines Committee
  • Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • Queensland Health Department
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Royal College of Nursing Australia
  • South Australian Department of Health
  • Thoracic Society of Australian and New Zealand
  • WA Department of Health
  • Peter Van Asperen, Children’s Hospital Westmead

© Australian Health Ministers’ Conference 2006
ISBN: 0-642-82840-7
Publications Approval Number: 3797

This publication was prepared under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference. Copies can be obtained by calling 1800 500 053 or from writing to the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, GPO Box 9848, Canberra 2601.

Enquiries about the content of the publication should be direct to the Director, Asthma and Arthritis Section, at the above address.