KEMH´s Asthma Education Centre Marks World Asthma Day

Bermuda Hospitals Board will celebrate “World Asthma Day” with an Open House in the lobby at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) on May 2, 2006. Resource information will be available and asthma educators will provide advice and spacer equipment at no charge between 10:00am and 2:00pm.

Other events highlighting a disease that affects 12% of Bermuda’s population include a lunchtime display table at the Washington Mall on Tuesday, May 9 and a Learning Lunch at the hospital on May 11. In addition, a seniors’ coffee morning is scheduled at Peace Lutheran Church Hall on May 16 at 10:00am.

Respiratory disease has been the number one reason for admission to KEMH (after childbirth) for many years and is a significant health issue for our community. Debbie Barboza, Asthma Educator at BHB, said, “Approximately 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 5 children have asthma in Bermuda. That translates to approximately 8,000 people on the island dealing with a serious health concern.” In 2005, 313 respiratory disease patients were seen at BHB’s Asthma Education Centre.

Asthma is a chronic disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems and symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. When it is not under control, the airways become overly sensitive to environmental changes and an attack can happen easily.

The Asthma Education Centre educates patients in the effective management of respiratory disease. The Centre aims to visit patients who have been seen at the emergency department with asthma-related complaints. When possible, patients are phoned by the Centre and followed to see whether their asthma is improving. Inpatients are also visited by Ms. Barboza, as time permits, who then schedules appointments for sessions at the Centre.

“One of the main goals of the Asthma Centre is to enable our patients to better understand and manage their disease,” said Ms. Barboza. “We also educate staff at KEMH so they can be as knowledgeable as possible. The goal is creating a team approach to deal with the challenge of educating asthma patients.”

World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in collaboration with health care groups and educators to raise awareness about a serious health condition and improve care throughout the world. This year’s theme is “The Unmet Needs of Asthma” and has been chosen to call attention to the need for better asthma treatment and control. The burden of this disease on individuals, families, and economies around the world is far greater than it should be, according to international experts on a respiratory illness that affects more than 300 million people across the globe.

For further information about asthma or to make an appointment to be seen at the Asthma Education Center, call 239-2055, extension 1652.

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