Children and teenagers with asthma are being called on to get involved with a new initiative, which aims to find out what they think needs to be done to improve asthma services for young people in Ireland.
The Asthma Youth Champions programme has been developed by the Asthma Society of Ireland and it is calling on primary and secondary schools in Ireland to get involved.
A panel of four young asthma ambassadors will be created as part of the programme and they will put forward their thoughts on how services for young people can be improved.
Around 170,000 children in Ireland have asthma.
"The aim of our Asthma Youth Champions programme is not only to allow young people to express their opinions on how asthma services need to be improved for the younger generation, but also to equip them with the resources and skills they need to promote asthma awareness and become asthma champions in their school and community," commented Asthma Society CEO, Sarah O'Connor.
She explained that four schools will be chosen, one from each province, and from these schools, one ‘asthma champion' will be picked to form a National Asthma Youth Council.
"The council will be asked to discuss a number of asthma issues that effect young people and ways in which the Asthma Society can improve their services for the youth of today. We will use these ideas for all children's publications and advocacy work for young people that we carry in the future," Ms O'Connor noted.
She said that the Asthma Society will then seek a meeting on the key priorities identified by the Asthma Youth Champions, with the Oireachtas Committee for Children and also with the Minister for Children.
"The council will also be equipped themselves with the expertise and resources they require to promote asthma awareness in their own school, community and hopefully one day, their country. We are encouraging all schools to get involved," Ms O'Connor added.
As part of this programme, the Asthma Society will provide a number of supports to selected schools, including an asthma education session delivered to parents and teachers by an asthma specialist nurse, information booklets and classroom games.
"All activity will be built around ensuring that the school is supported so that they can change the asthma culture in their school and community," the society said.
For more information on the Asthma Youth Champions programme, including how to get involved, click here
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