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ASTHMA PREVALENCE STUDY GETS UNDERWAY NEXT WEEK

ASTHMA PREVALENCE STUDY GETS UNDERWAY NEXT WEEK

A study to determine the prevalence of asthma and allergies in Jamaica among children and adults will be undertaken by The UWI School of Nursing, Mona, with the help of a grant of $10.5 million from the National Health Fund (NHF). The study, which is scheduled to get underway next week will be done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has been contracted to conduct the survey which targets households randomly drawn from across the island.

The prevalence study led by the Principal Investigator Dr. Eulalia Kahwa of the UWI School of Nursing, Mona is targeted for completion in October 2007, and is expected to determine the proportion of the population that is affected by asthma and allergies, identify risk factors for asthma, determine environmental irritants and asthma triggers, assess the level of knowledge of the population about the disease and estimate the amount of money spent on the disease by individuals and families.

Asthma is one of the most common respiratory disorders affecting both adults and children and places an enormous strain on the health resources and economies of both developed and developing countries. According World Health Organization (WHO), asthma affects approximately 150 million people worldwide.

While statistics from health care institutions in Jamaica indicate a significant impact of asthma on the population, Jamaica has no current prevalence data and local health planners have relied on Accident & Emergency (A&E) statistics, which provide a limited assessment of the situation. This affects the country?s ability to properly plan for asthma care. In 2002, a total of 38,103 visits (6.3%) of all A&E rooms were due to asthma.

According to Dr. Kahwa, ?This prevalence study is very important as currently, there is no national prevalence data on asthma for Jamaica. The findings of this study will provide information for effective health care planning and resource allocation for asthma care and prevention, inform policy decisions and contribute to a comprehensive approach to asthma management and education.?

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