Labor backs allergy training plan


LIFE saving allergy training would be mandatory for teachers and childcare workers if Labor wins next month's Victorian election.

Premier Steve Bracks today announced the Government would spend $2.1 million over five years to train childcare workers and teachers how to treat children with life-threatening anaphylaxis - a severe allergic reaction.

The package would include training to reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic triggers - such as peanuts and shellfish - and how to administer a life-saving shot of adrenaline through an Epi-pen.

Announcing the policy at Melbourne Zoo to coincide with the launch of Children's Week, Mr Bracks said the Australian-first training package would save lives.

"About 5,000 young people suffer from anaphylaxis in this state and of course one of the things we can do is early identification.

"One of the things we will do is to train up to 70,000 childcare workers, kindergarten teachers, teachers in our schools for early identification and therefore to be able to take action almost immediately.

"That can save lives, we know that lives are being lost through lack of early identification."

The initiative was welcomed by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and parents of Anaphylactic children, including Nigel and Martha Baptist, whose son Alex, 4, died of anaphylactic shock at kindergarten two years ago.

"Education is really the key to managing anaphylaxis and preventing it," Mr Baptist said.

"The more education people have and understanding they have of it I think that increases the chances of saving a life."

AMA president Mukesh Haikerwal said Victoria was leading the world in introducing mandatary allergy training.

"It ramps up in people's minds the importance of anaphylaxis and the need to prevent the catastrophic reaction if somebody doesn't get early treatment," he said.

"When someone who has anaphylaxis is exposed to something that they are allergic to ... they can be at death's door. It's a very catastrophic reaction, it happens in a very short length of time unless urgent treatment is given and given quickly."