New asthma resources for minorities

Asthma Society launches new inclusion project
  • Deborah Condon

The Asthma Society of Ireland has launched a new education inclusion project, aimed at improving the respiratory health of minority groups, such as members of the Travelling community.

The society is working in collaboration with the Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and HSE Social Inclusion South East Community Healthcare.

Together, they aim is to provide culturally appropriate and literacy-friendly asthma resources to members of the Travelling community, members of the Roma community, refugees and people seeking international protection.

The resources include an educational ‘5 Step Rule' animation video, which outlines what an asthma attack is and what to do if someone is experiencing an attack. This video is available in eight languages including Romanian, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese and French.

An asthma educational video, featuring consultant respiratory physician, Prof Stephen Lane, provides information on a range of relevant topics such as asthma management and asthma triggers. This video has also been translated into a number of languages, including Romanian, Arabic and Brazilian Portuguese.

These resources will be shared with intercultural health workers and healthcare professionals who are working with these communities. They will also be made available in various accommodation centers, emergency reception and orientation centers nationwide, and will be distributed by Traveller and Roma community health workers.

According to the Asthma Society's interim CEO, Emily Blennerhasset, these resources were collated following focus groups and consultations, which identified the needs and resources necessary to support asthma education within these communities.

"The Asthma Society aims to improve asthma quality of life for all. We hope that these resources, which have been translated into eight languages, and adapted to ensure that they are culturally appropriate, will help us in that mission," she commented.

According to Mary Brigid Collins, of the Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, resources such as this are very welcome.

"It says ‘this information is for you'. After years of exclusion, many Travellers assume that information for the general population doesn't include them," she commented.

She said that asthma is a "real concern" for Travellers. According to the All Ireland Traveller Health Study (2010), more Travellers die due to respiratory conditions than the general population.

Other minorities, such as members of the Roma community will also benefit.

"A significant proportion of the population living in Ireland today is of non-Irish origin, with Census 2016 confirming that 17% of our population are foreign born, and we are keen to ensure that health information is available to members of these diverse communities," commented Ruth Armstrong of the HSE's National Social Inclusion Office.

For more information on this new inclusion project, click here.


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