8 May 2017
Project to reduce Māori hospitalisation rates – says new CE
The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is delighted to announce Letitia O’Dwyer as its newly appointed Chief
O’Dwyer is currently Chief Executive at the New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders (NZORD) an organisation, which
under her leadership raised its national awareness, professionalism and support group engagement.
Chairman of the Foundation John Knight says, “Letitia has over 20 years experience in the health sector and we are
incredibly excited to have her on board.”
“During the past years the Foundation has launched a number of key projects, including the Māori Engagement Strategy and
Te Hā Ora: National Respiratory Strategy. Letitia will oversee these projects being taken to the next level,” says
On World Asthma Day (2 May) it was highlighted that urgent action needs to be taken to reduce the rates amongst Māori
children (1 in 5 have asthma), who have significantly higher hospitalisation rates and prevalence than the rest of the
O’Dwyer says, “We do not see it as Ministry of Health, DHB or even a PHO stand-alone health target. We intend to change
“We will be implementing a project alongside a Māori healthcare provider, to deliver workforce training and development
around respiratory health. Our aim is to reduce the disproportionate hospitalisation rates for Māori,” says O’Dwyer.
Additionally, O’Dwyer endorses Te Hā Ora: National Respiratory Strategy – a call to action for urgent recommendations to
reduce the incidence and impact of respiratory disease.
“With one in six New Zealanders living with a respiratory condition, and an annual cost of over $6 billion per year,
respiratory disease needs to be made a New Zealand health priority,” says O’Dwyer.