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WHY MONITOR ASTHMA?

Further Information

Asthma is a common disease in Australia and it places substantial burden on individuals, families and the community. For children, asthma is a major cause of school absenteeism, emergency department visits and hospital. In teenagers and adults, asthma also causes absenteeism and increased use of hospital services. In Australia, there have been many initiatives introduced to improve the management of asthma over the last 10 years. During this time, we know there has been a significant reduction in the number of asthma-related deaths. However, we know very little about which initiatives are successful, who benefits most, if certain groups are not reached by these initiatives. Thus, the introduction of a strategic monitoring system for asthma in this country would facilitate:

  • The regular reporting of disease levels, burden, and trends associated with asthma in the general population and specific population groups;

  • The examination of social, geographical and environmental differentials that may influence the development and burden associated with asthma;

  • The identification of potential for improved prevention and management strategies;

  • The tracking of the impact of health policy, and prevention and management strategies.

How will asthma be monitored?

The Commonwealth Government has funded the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in consultation with the National Asthma Council Australia, to establish and manage an Australian Monitoring System for Asthma. The system includes:

  1. The development of a draft set of 24 asthma indicators to monitor asthma

  2. The Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring (ACAM) is currently developing a systematic approach to the surveillance of asthma based on these indicators. To facilitate the process, ACAM is: