New Zealand has one of the world’s highest rates of respiratory disease. One in six New Zealand children have asthma. It’s a serious and life-threatening issue, and one that impacts most severely on Māori and Pasifika people and on those living in more deprived circumstances. The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ wanted to change the statistics. They were seeking to improve respiratory outcomes for all by growing and sharing knowledge about respiratory health. This needed to include arming parents and whānau with knowledge, understanding, and skills to successfully manage their children’s asthma. The Foundation already had a large bank of resources on managing childhood asthma, but they were due for review, refresh and consolidation. How could the Foundation best use the opportunity to create resources to grow health literacy, and better address this need?
Our Wavelength teams created a comprehensive booklet and a multimedia, mobile-responsive digital guide. Together, these provide multiple ways for parents to engage with key messages. Parents who understand these messages will be empowered to help their children grow up healthy, active and safe. There is a strong focus on prevention –avoiding asthma attacks and minimising the effects if any do occur. Both resources provide opportunities for parents, caregivers and children to engage actively with the content and make connections between what they are learning and their personal experiences. The language is kept plain but important terms are explained and reiterated. The tone is supportive, inclusive, reassuring, and trustworthy. The digital resource includes a host who narrates much of the material, and two animated characters who help tell the story and add to the appeal. The audience can see themselves in the quotes, videos, photos, and stories. Parents are portrayed as active, empowered consumers of health information who share their own knowledge with healthcare providers, ask questions and seek clarification. Children are shown being actively engaged in managing their own health.
The resources have just been released and we’re looking forward to seeing their positive impact. Our client is very happy with the materials and keen for us to move onto the next challenge – creating an asthma toolkit for use in schools. We also know from QA throughout the development process that people are happy and excited with the quality of the resources. They like the way both print and digital media are used to communicate critical health messages. The resources don’t just tell parents what to do, but show them, and help them process the material easily, rather than having to locate and wade through a multitude of information sources. The signs are positive that these resources will help the Foundation achieve its purpose and bring down the worrying statistics for childhood asthma in New Zealand.