On World Asthma Day Respiratory Health Associations Call for Asthma Care for All

    The theme for World Asthma Day 2023 (May 2) is “Asthma care for all”.  The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is calling on health care leaders and policy makers to ensure access to effective, quality-assured medications, especially in low- and middle-income countries. 

    Asthma is a major noncommunicable disease, affecting both children and adults, and is the most common chronic disease among children. Asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 455 000 deaths. 1 

    Airway inflammation drives asthma symptoms, including a cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. The focus of asthma treatment is inflammation in the lungs. 

    Most of the burden of asthma morbidity and mortality occurs in low- and middle-income countries, where the disease is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. Essential inhaled medications, particularly those containing inhaled corticosteroids, are often unavailable or unaffordable, and this explains much of the global burden of preventable asthma morbidity and mortality.   

    It is unacceptable that, despite the availability of highly effective therapies, global inequality in asthma care deprives so many children, adolescents and adults of healthy lives and puts them at increased risk of death. A World Health Assembly Resolution on universal access to affordable and effective asthma care is needed to focus attention and investment on addressing this need. 

    World Asthma Day and GINA 

    World Asthma Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma, (GINA) (a FIRS member) a World Health Organization collaborative organization founded in 1993.  GINA is working to improve the lives of people with asthma in every corner of the globe.  More about GINA’s global strategy for diagnosis, management, and prevention of asthma and World Asthma Day can be found at www.ginasthma.org. 

    About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) 

    The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).  

    The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally. 

    For more information about FIRS please contact Fiona Salter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

     1 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma

    World Tuberculosis Day: We must find and treat everyone with TB, to end TB

    In support of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, 24 March, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies is determined to break the chain of TB transmission. 

    In 2021, 1.2 million children fell ill with TB globally. On World TB Day, FIRS members are focusing on child TB, as children with TB are most likely to have been recently infected by an undiagnosed and untreated adult with infectious TB in their household or community. This is not right. 

    The key to breaking the chain of transmission and ending TB is to find and treat everyone in the community with TB. This simple approach will not only benefit those people who are found and treated, but also protects others from ever being infected with TB. 

    Despite TB being curable, progress is moving slowly.  Over the last decade, TB deaths fell by only 2 per cent per year. Deaths increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, as experts, equipment and money were diverted elsewhere. Sadly, TB will likely kill more people in low- and middle-income countries in 2023 than Covid-19, making it the world’s biggest infectious disease killer.  (Tuberculosis who.int)

    Prof Guy Marks, President and Interim Executive Director of FIRS member The Union, said: “We must use our expertise, evidence base and tools more effectively to make TB history, and that starts with finding and treating everyone with TB. We must stop children from ever getting TB.” 

    There remains a large global gap between the estimated number of people who fell ill with TB and the number of people newly diagnosed, with 4.2 million people not diagnosed with the disease, or not officially reported to national authorities in 2021, up from 3.2 million in 2019.

    The Union has developed several resources to support healthcare workers in high TB burden settings with diagnosing children with TB and deciding when and how to start TB treatment in children and adolescents. The Union also coordinates the Child and Adolescent Tuberculosis Centre of Excellence, a virtual network of public health experts in child and adolescent TB in the sub-Sahara Africa region, providing a community of learning and practice. 

    For more on the impact of TB and other respiratory diseases, see the Global Impact of Respiratory Disease Report.  

    About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) 

    The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), American Thoracic Society (ATS), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).  

    The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally. 

    For more information about FIRS please contact Fiona Salter This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

     

     

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