There is one full-time children’s lung disease specialist (pediatric respirologist) in Saskatchewan. We require a minimum of four to adequately meet the needs of our children and youth. Respiratory diseases will be the leading cause of admissions to the new Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital. Asthma is the most common chronic disease of children. Respiratory complications requiring a specialist are almost ten times higher in aboriginal children compared to the rest of the province. The lack of pediatric respirologists means sick children have to travel out of province to get the care they need.
Lung Association Actions
The Lung Association commissioned an external review of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine in Saskatchewan. The full report can be viewed on-line. The report has been used as the basis for recommendations to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health. The report resulted in the recruitment of a new pediatric respirologist to Saskatoon in September 2011.
The Lung Association has partnered with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to fund a New Investigator Award in Pediatric Respirology in Saskatchewan. Funding of $60,000 per year for five years ($300,000 total) has been awarded at the University of Saskatchewan for research on children with asthma. The research will investigate the indoor environment, including tobacco smoke and mould in homes and the role that obesity, health behaviours, and environmental exposures contribute to asthma development in Saskatchewan. This work will have implications for future prevention and management of childhood asthma.
The Lung Association previously provided a professorship which was used to recruit Saskatchewan’s first pediatric respirologist in 1999. Over a 9-year period $450,000 was provided.
The Lung Association also works to increase the capacity of family physicians and other health care professionals in pediatric lung health - see the Lung Health Care Professionals section.