On the 12th of March, The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ and Asthma NZ hosted the first-ever joint Respiratory Symposium at the Marion Davis Lecture Hall.
The event was over-subscribed within the first week of being advertised, a strong indication of the interest in asthma and COPD education.
The CEO of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, Letitia O'Dwyer opened the Symposium and introduced the first guest speaker of the evening.
Dr. Kyle Perrin spoke about key aspects of asthma management. Dr. Perrin emphasized important points from the current guidelines such as when and how to prescribe inhaled corticosteroids; the necessity of an asthma action plan; and non-pharmacological approaches to improve asthma management.
Scott Donaldson, had everyone’s attention during dinner as he shared some insights into his successful solo crossing of the Tasman Sea in a kayak last year (2018). Scott has had asthma from childhood and talked about his approach to asthma as a professional athlete. He provided a different perspective and some powerful insights into what is possible with good management and health literacy.
The last presenter of the evening was Dr. Robert Young. The audience was happy to make dessert wait as Dr. Young provided an information-rich presentation outlining current COPD management strategies. Dr. Young stressed the importance of taking into account a previous history of asthma and eosinophil count to choose a correct therapy for COPD. Dr. Young presented recent research about triple therapy for COPD and its efficiency to decrease the number of exacerbations. There were many questions from the floor indicating an escalating need for more education on COPD
Asthma NZ’s Chief Executive, Katheren Leitner closed the evening by thanking Astra Zeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK and REX Medical for their support in making the evening possible. Asthma NZ set an ambitious goal last year to reduce asthma and COPD hospital admissions by 50% by 2029, a goal that is very achievable with the support and effort of many
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Asthma NZ join New Zealand and sit with a heavy heart in utter disbelief at the tragedy of Friday afternoon. No words are sufficient to describe the emotions New Zealand shares at this horrible time in our history.
For the love and respect of the 50 Families that come to terms with their great loss, we pray that New Zealand unites and moves forward as a more compassionate and accepting nation.
May we demonstrate to a world watching what unity and harmony look like.