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Published: 6 November 2015

Authors: Asher, I.

Watch online: Presentation to Respiratory Conference New Zealand November 2015. Childhood pneumonia and bronchiolitis.

Childhood bronchiolitis is a common infection in the first year of life. Most babies can be cared for at home, but some need to be admitted to hospital. New Zealand hospitalisation rates for bronchiolitis increased by nearly a third from 2000 to 2013. These rates are higher for Māori and Pacific children than for other children.

Childhood pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection of the lungs. While overall hospitalisations have dropped in recent years, children from Māori, Pacific and low-income families experience extreme inequities in both rates and severity. Rates are highest in the most deprived areas of New Zealand, and more than half of all deaths occur in the most deprived areas.

The National Respiratory Strategy includes comprehensive actions needed to address these preventable admissions, deaths and inequities, and here these are discussed.