It was World Asthma Day yesterday.

But some things don't change - Māori and Pasifika always top the asthma statistics in diagnosis, hospitalisation and mortality rates.

Despite efforts to stem those rates, the number of Māori/Pacific children being hospitalised with asthma continues to grow.

But Northland, a region with a dense Māori population, is hoping to change that with a new approach that's being spearheaded by its local pharmacies.

NZ rates 4th in the OECD when it comes to asthma hospitalisations.

Asthma expert Jim Reid says chemists could really help ease those rates.

“I think they are very important. The pharmacists are in prime position to be able to see just how significant asthma is for particular patients.”

Chemist Iain Buchanan says one of the main difficulties they face is that sufferers often don't have the words to describe how they are affected.

This led to the ACT test which aims to help alleviate that situation.

“We get them to fill out an ACT test while they are waiting for that prescription and we have a chat to them on what their score is and with permission, we refer them back to their GP.”

If you're suffering from asthma, your chemist may have a strategy to help.

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