A bilingual children’s storybook co-designed by Brimbank’s Vietnamese community in collaboration with community health organisation, cohealth, aims to tackle the serious health problem of childhood asthma.
Minh’s Asthma Story, written in English and Vietnamese, is aimed at children aged 5-9 years old and their carers and tells the story of Minh’s family as they journey from asthma symptoms to diagnosis to asthma self-management.
Clara Adams, cohealth Health Promotion Coordinator – Improving Childhood Asthma Management program, said, “Asthma in young children is particularly severe in Melbourne’s inner west.
“We wanted to create a culturally-appropriate resource which helps parents and carers understand how they can self-manage their child’s asthma.
“As with all our programs and services, it was vital for community to have ownership of this project, so we partnered with a Vietnamese-speaking parents’ group. Their insights have been invaluable,” said Clara.
Brimbank, Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong suffer from high levels of air pollution, ranking highest in the state for emergency department presentations for asthma and wheeze in child and adolescent patients. Yarraville and Brooklyn have been named as two of Victoria’s air pollution ‘hot spots’.
St Albans mother, Dkung Luong was one of the parents who helped co-design Minh’s Asthma Story and has personal experience of having a child with asthma.
Dkung says that her 10-year-old daughter’s asthma has become easier to manage as she’s grown older, but when she was younger there were many trips to hospital.
“She often got tired, coughing, and had trouble breathing when the weather changed, especially in winter and spring. It was very worrying and difficult for me.”
Dkung says that families and caregivers need more information about how to recognise symptoms, causes and prevention of asthma.
“Some parents who are bilingual like me, they don’t have the experience and they don’t know much about asthma.”
“It was important for me to help write the book so that people can know more about the condition. Then they will be able to help their child.”
“Even though it targets the children, the information in the book is helpful for all ages,” said Dkung.
The storybook is part of the ICAM project – Improving Childhood Asthma Management, in the Inner West. With funding from Victorian Government ICAM includes several projects aimed at improving quality of life and health outcomes for children with asthma in the inner west.
Minh’s Asthma Story will be launched in June (Saturday 10 June, 10.30am at St Alban’s library and Wednesday 14 June, 4pm at West Footscray library) and will be available at Local Government and Primary School Libraries, as well as free hard copies by request.
To order a free copy of Minh’s Asthma Story or learn more about cohealth’s Improving Childhood Asthma Management program go to the cohealth website: https://www.cohealth.org.au/icam
More information: Lanie.Harris@cohealth.org.au or 0418 552 377
About cohealth: cohealth is a not-for-profit community health organisation that provides low-cost and free local health and support services including medical, dental, allied health, mental health, aged care and counselling, and many specialist health services across Melbourne’s CBD, northern and western suburbs.