Children in indigenous populations have substantially higher respiratory morbidity than non-indigenous children. Indigenous children have more frequent respiratory infections that are, more severe and, associated with long-term sequelae. Post-infectious sequelae such as chronic suppurative lung disease and bronchiectasis are especially prevalent among indigenous groups and have lifelong impact on lung function. Also, although estimates of asthma prevalence among indigenous children are similar to non-indigenous groups the morbidity of asthma is higher in indigenous children. To reduce the morbidity of respiratory illness, best-practice medicine is essential in addition to improving socio-economic factors, (eg household crowding), tobacco smoke exposure, and access to health care and illness prevention programs that likely contribute to these issues. Although each indigenous group may have unique health beliefs and interfaces with modern health care, a culturally sensitive and community-based comprehensive care system of preventive and long term care can improve outcomes for all these conditions. This article focuses on common respiratory conditions encountered by indigenous children living in affluent countries where data is available.
Keywords: Lung; acute respiratory infections; asthma; bronchiectasis; children; chronic lung disease; prevention; protracted bacterial bronchitis.
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