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Asthma worry

Ana Madigibuli
Thursday, May 08, 2014

ASTHMA continues to kill Fijians. As the country celebrated World Asthma Day yesterday, the Health Ministry revealed there were a total of 1755 asthma-related deaths from the year 2000 to 2013.

The highest number of asthma deaths recorded in the country was back in 2004 with 216 cases and for last year, there were 75 deaths compared with 173 in 2012.

This was revealed by prevalence and cause specific mortality statistics presented by director epidemiology of the Health Information Unit Dr Devina Nand during the celebrations at the Fiji National University's Pasifika Campus in Suva yesterday. The statistics showed that the total inpatient asthma cases recorded for 2013 stood at 807 compared with 999 in 2012.

Dr Nand said asthma was widely distributed in Fiji with an average number of cases seen as inpatients between the years 2000 to 2013 that stood at 417 cases per year.

"Most cases were seen at Ba Mission Hospital followed by Rakiraki, Sigatoka, Nadi and Tavua Hospital," Dr Nand revealed.

"Looking at the greatest number of deaths that occurred in a divisional hospital, CWM Hospital recorded 352 cases, whereas Lautoka recorded 215 cases and Labasa 197 cases within those 14 years."

Dr Nand said health information and research needs to be collected and initiated to establish the true burden of the disease.

"A well managed and well co-ordinated public health system is crucial in ensuring that decisions that impact on the provision of lifesaving interventions and disease reducing public health intervention are made on the basis of accurate, timely and quality evidence," Dr Nand said.

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