New plan to tackle asthma, reduce deaths

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has launched a new national strategy to help asthma sufferers.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has launched a new national strategy to help asthma sufferers.

More than two million Australians have asthma, with about 400 dying each year, but the federal government has a new strategy to help tackle the condition.

Better co-ordinated health services, prevention and self-management are at the forefront of a plan launched by Health Minister Greg Hunt in Melbourne on Wednesday.

"This is about saving lives ... it's about giving parents and Australians of all ages the chance to manage asthma and have a long, rich, full life," he told reporters.

The federal government is putting $1 million towards an asthma program for school students, teachers and parents, the minister added.

Australia had one of the highest rates of asthma in the world but deaths from the condition dropped significantly over the past two decades, data showed.

About 40,000 people were hospitalised for the condition each year, Mr Hunt said.

A freak thunderstorm asthma event killed 10 people in Victoria in November 2016 and a warning system was later introduced to forecast and monitor potential outbreaks.