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COPD training addresses respiratory disease skill gap

In New Zealand, around one in six Kiwi's suffer with a respiratory disease. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, and respiratory disease is the third leading cause of deaths in New Zealand - yet many have never heard of it.

In Waikato, Māori are hospitalised with respiratory disease at twice the rate of other ethnicities. There is also a close association of respiratory disease with poverty. 

In October Pinnacle MHN delivered a respiratory training workshop at Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust in Hamilton. Māori community health workers, primary care assistants and health care assistants from Taranaki, King Country and Waikato attended the training. Rawiri Blundell, Pinnacle MHN Māori health manager said the training facilitated participation and collaboration between Māori community health workers, primary care assistants, and general practice, and improved respiratory health knowledge within primary care.

Sally Newell, Pinnacle MHN Physically Well programme lead and former respiratory clinical nurse specialist said barriers to diagnosing COPD is an issue for communities and whānau, along with limited knowledge and services available for those experiencing respiratory issues. "Understanding diagnostic services in the community and upskilling primary health workforce are challenges that need to be continually monitored and addressed," adds Sally.

The knowledge and attitudes of the public about COPD and its symptoms should be thought about to help inform future education and awareness-raising strategies.

Attendees found the training very beneficial. "If I had not done the training there would have been no way I would have known what to do in a situation I found myself in yesterday with a patient, so thank you," was feedback received from a participant immediately after the training.

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