Aim: Because of a high childhood asthma burden in Singapore, assessment of disease control status is essential for formulating school-based strategy of childhood asthma control. The aim of the present study is to assess childhood asthma prevalence and control in Singapore and the socio-demographic and help-seeking correlates.
Methods: School-based survey using parental self-administered questionnaire, conducted from February to April 2004. Four mixed-gender primary schools selected from geographically distinct zones of Singapore. All primary one (modal age - 6.5 years) and six (modal age - 11.9 years) students from selected schools were invited to participate. Questionnaire respondents were the students' parents or guardians. The response rate was 75.2% (2123/2825).
Results: Prevalence of current asthma was 8.9% (190/2123). Among them, 26.3% (46/175) were assessed to have inadequate control. Asthma was more prevalent, and less adequately controlled in children from lower socio-economic backgrounds (lower-end housing type). Children with poorly controlled asthma were more likely to be treated by emergency room physicians and hospital specialists, and to be on preventer medications.
Conclusions: In Singapore, poor asthma control is found in a sizeable proportion of school children with asthma, is identifiable for high-risk groups of children from lower socio-economic backgrounds and having asthma-related attendance at the emergency rooms.