• Studybugs app launched to reduce asthma absenteeism

Brighton and Sussex Medical School have partnered with Brighton and Hove City Council to create Studybugs, an app which aims to reduce the amount of time asthmatic children are out of school.

The Studybugs app tracks the amount of school missed due to asthma or related symptoms and offers tailored advice on treatment. Each year, more than 20% of children miss school because of asthma.

Parents are able to use the app to contact their child’s school when they are unwell, and are prompted to provide details about the illness. This information can also be used to help doctors produce a tailored treatment plan, reducing the likelihood of future attacks.

Professor Somnath Mukhopadhyay, BSMS chair of paediatrics and lead on the project, said: “The connection between the health of children and school attainment is well documented.
“Not only are these children missing out on the quality of life they deserve, but their asthma has a real knock-on effect, impacting on their education, and possibly even their future careers.

“Reducing school absenteeism through more effective management of illness is a health improvement area that receives the unanimous backing of schools, the NHS and parents and carers.”

The app is free to use for both schools and parents. Dr Peter Wilkinson, acting director of public health at Brighton & Hove City Council, said that he hoped the project “will make a real difference in this area.”