World Pneumonia Day: Urgent progress needed to end the preventable burden of pneumonia and deaths

    On World Pneumonia Day, 12 November, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), calls for urgent progress to end the preventable burden of pneumonia and deaths.

    Pneumonia is the single biggest infectious killer of adults and children – claiming the lives of 2.5 million, including 672,000 children, in 2019. Children under five years old and adults over 70 years make up 75 percent of pneumonia deaths.  Most pneumonia deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.  The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the danger of pneumonia particularly in adults, with almost 47 million cases globally and 1.2 million deaths to date.

    To help increase the visibility of pneumonia and to raise public awareness of its risks, FIRS has joined the World Pneumonia Awareness Campaign, Pneumolight. More than 216 iconic landmarks in 47 countries across the globe will light up blue to mark World Pneumonia Day. The event will shine a blue spotlight on this neglected yet leading killer of children.

    Landmarks which will turn blue include: the King George Square in Brisbane, Australia; the Macau Tower in China; the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy; Niagara Falls in Canada; the Cibeles Fountain in Madrid; the National Library of Belarus; Milad – the highest tower in Iran; Olympic Tower in Munich, Germany; the Torch Doha in Qtar; the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada - the highest tower in North America and Table Mountain in South Africa.

    FIRS President, Dr. Stephanie Levine,  FIRS member the Pan African Thoracic Society  President, Prof Joseph Aluoch, and past-President Prof Heather Zar will speak at the Global Conference for World Pneumonia Day, joining a diverse panel of more than 21 speakers from different organisations committed to fighting pneumonia.

    To end the preventable burden of childhood pneumonia and deaths there is a need to:

    • Raise awareness about pneumonia, the leading killer of young children.
    • Strengthen, accelerate and sustain interventions to prevent and treat pneumonia.
    • Focus on equitable access to, and delivery of comprehensive pneumonia prevention and control programs.
    • Design specific strategies to reach the “harder-to reach” populations to improve their accessibility to available interventions.
    • Conduct research to develop innovative strategies to reduce the burden of pneumonia.

    Together, we can end preventable deaths from pneumonia. 

    FIRS calls upon governments, health care providers, researchers, funders and families to ensure:

    • Improved, equitable and sustained access to effective pneumonia prevention and control interventions for all by all.
    • Strengthened health systems that promptly and effectively deliver strategies to reduce pneumonia deaths including provision of effective antibiotics and oxygen delivery systems.
    • Increased support for strategies to prevent pneumonia including immunisation, prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, provision of anti-retroviral therapy for HIV-infected children, reduction of exposure to tobacco and air pollution, and increasing access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
    • Support for research towards innovative diagnostic, prevention and treatment strategies.

    If we do not take decisive action now, 11 million more children will die by 2030.

    About the World Pneumonia Awareness Campaign, Pneumolight

    To find out more about the World Pneumonia Awareness Campaign, Pneumolight, contact Catia Cillóniz on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Join the Global Conference for World Pneumonia Day on November 12th, 2020, beginning at 16:00 CET and concluding at 20:00 CET by visiting the Pneumolight YouTube Channel.


     
    World COPD Day, 18 November

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a preventable and treatable disease that causes breathlessness, chronic sputum production and cough.

    There are 300 million current cases of COPD in the world.  COPD is currently the third leading cause of death globally and is highly prevalent in low resource countries. Exposure to tobacco smoke and other inhaled toxic particles and gases are the main risk factors for COPD, although recent research has identified that suboptimal lung growth before and after birth can also increase the risk of COPD later in life.

    World COPD Day is a global campaign run by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), who are members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS).

    The 19th annual World COPD Day will take place on 18 November 2020.

    The goal of World COPD Day is to raise awareness and present new knowledge and novel therapeutic strategies for COPD worldwide. This year’s theme, “Living Well With COPD- Everybody, Everywhere” looks to send a positive message to both patients and providers that although there is no cure for COPD, there are many ways to actively live well with the disease.  This campaign aims to raise awareness for interventions like pulmonary rehabilitation, physical activity, self-management, and nutrition, as well as highlight the importance of social and mental well-being.  Worldwide education on these types of services can help raise awareness and promote advocacy for patient access everywhere.

    Initiatives to reduce the burden of COPD are taking place worldwide, including smoking-cessation programs, fighting against both indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as examining childhood disadvantage factors. Although there is no current cure for COPD, actions to improve quality of life can take place anywhere by a variety of individuals in many types of settings. Employers can strive for safe breathing environments, citizens can be good stewards of air cleanliness, and both patients and families can help advocate for more research and better access to care, including pulmonary rehabilitation and mental health services.  In addition, providers and policy makers can work together to improve access to spirometry, essential medications, and other treatments, including telehealth and other types of access for patients in remote settings.

    Get involved

    FIRS invites everyone to participate in World COPD Day events on the 18th of November, 2020. Further information about GOLD and World COPD Day can be found at www.goldcopd.org.


    World Lung Day: 25 September 2020

    World Lung Day (WLD), 25 September, is a day for lung health advocacy and action, an opportunity for us all to unite and promote better lung health globally.

    If you haven't joined yet, sign up as a World Lung Day partner by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., all our partners are included on our partners page

    World Lung Day Toolkit

    The theme for World Lung Day 2020 is respiratory infections. 

    World Lung Day Graphics
    Respiratory Infections and Pledge Campaign

    We have a variety of graphics for you to share on and around World Lung Day. 

    There are 12 graphics related to the theme this year, which is respiratory infections. Click on the graphic to save, please use #WorldLungDay in all your social media activity. 

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    World Lung Day Pledge Campaign

    In addition, we are also asking you to share your World Lung Day pledges. 

    There are six pledges below, sized for Facebook/Twitter and Instagram and they have all been translated into 12 languages. 

    You could also take a photograph of yourself doing something for World Lung Day and share this on social media or create your own pledge using this blank version sized for Facebook/Twitter or Instagram

    Don't forget to include #WorldLungDay in your posts. 

    If you would like a bespoke World Lung Day pledge designing email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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    World Lung Day Events

    Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, many World Lung Day events will be virtual this year, here are some ideas for virtual events:

    • Virtual press conference
    • Hold a webinar to talk about lung health/respiratory infections
    • Hold a zoom call
    • Run a Facebook live session 

    World Lung Day Partner Plans 

    • The Philippine College of Chest Physicians is commemorating National Lung Month during the whole month August 2020 with the theme “Facing the Challenges of a New Normal”. The advocacy activity will culminate on September 25, 2020 in time for the World Lung Day celebration. They have lots of activities planned, find out more here. They have also produced a fantastic lung health video, watch it here
    • Aspergillosis Trust will be using the day to raise awareness. Aspergillosis is a rare disease and getting a correct diagnosis can take time, view graphic
    • Jamaica Lung Support will host a free online education and support session. Their area of focus will be idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis and management, see flyer
    • Asociación Argentina de Alergia al Látex will be holding a session on respiratory infection on World Lung Day, view flyer
    • Lung Foundation of India are holding a webinar on the importance of breathing clear air and causes of air pollution.
    • The Latin Society of Pulmonary Hypertension will organise a webinar on World Lung Day. They are also planning an awareness campaign for Latin America where ALL organizations that work for lung diseases will be able to promote their World Lung Day activities and publications.
    • Bangladesh Lung Foundation will hold many activities such as a radio and TV talk on lung health, online quiz competition for health professionals, online CME on COVID radiology, special poster publication on World Lung Day to create awareness and online round table discussion on lung health.
    • Portuguese Pulmonology Society will be creating digital assets including a stop smoking video.
    • Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation Inc is holding a Zoom on 25 September, prevent, detect and treat respiratory infections, view the flyer here
    • Healthy Lungs Nepal is holding a social media art and video competition with the theme of air quality, stop smoking and respiratory health during COVID19. They will also hold a spirometry and awareness event in COPD in a rural municipality of Western Nepal. 
    • Air4Health Bulgaria have invited over 200 pulmonologists in Bulgaria to participate in their day, view flyer. They will also be organising a press-conference on World Lung Day, and have an associated measurement of lung-function for people who have recuperated from COVID19.
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Association (Singapore) has created a lung health awareness video for World Lung Day, watch it here
    • Fundaler will be hosting a live Instagram session on World Lung Day.
    • Indian Academy of Respiratory Care is organising a three-day webinar series in collaboration with various leading institutions in India, view webinar graphic.
    • Fundación Neumológica Colombiana will bring together hundreds of people with lung conditions around the world to promote the importance of physical activity for lung diseases, view graphic.
    • World Lung Foundation of India will be taking part in the World Lung Day Pledge campaign and also conduct a lung health survey, view flyer.
    • Terme di Cervia is organising outdoor exercises to learn how to breathe correctly and improve pulmonary capacity and availability of the medical director and pneumologist Alessandro Zanasi for consultations - inhalation treatments.
    • Pulmonary Hypertension Association will have a virtual town hall "Understanding the PH Drug Pipeline" planned. Pulmonologist Anna Hemnes will share insight on the available pulmonary arterial hypertension therapies and new treatments in the drug development pipeline. Find out more information on the event.
    • Czech Pneumological and Phthisiological Society and Czech Civic Association Against Lung Diseases have issued a press release for World Lung Day.
    • TB Alliance has released a full toolkit for World Lung Day.
    • The Asthma Society of Ireland are releasing their new new Clean Air video which features the voices of children who competed in our #OwnOurAir competition, watch now.
    • PRONATERC has a range of activities planned including a virtual exhibition by the Higher Institute of Fine Arts (dance, paintings, music, etc.) to raise awareness of lung health in the population, distribution of ecological bags with messages to demonstrate the damage caused by environmental pollution and a live broadcast on social networks with the President of the Society of Pneumology, authorities of the ISBA (Higher Institute of Fine Arts) and authorities of the Ministry of Public Health to educate the population about lung health. 

    Send your World Lung Day plans in to be included. Other World Lung Day Content


    World Lung Day 2020: Respiratory groups call for research to prevent, detect and treat respiratory infections

    Today, on World Lung Day (WLD), the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), members and WLD partner organisations unite to advocate for respiratory health globally and call for more research to prevent, detect and treat respiratory infections.

    In 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made the world aware of how deadly respiratory viruses can be. In reality, respiratory infections have been with us for a very long time and will continue to be a major source of human suffering and death.

    Apart from viruses, there are many other sources of respiratory infection that cause much human disease. These include bacteria, fungi and other organisms which may infect the upper airways (nose, sinuses and throat) and/or, more worryingly, the lower airways and lungs (such as bronchitis and or pneumonia). They can cause lung symptoms such as cough, fast breathing, green sputum and breathlessness, as well as general symptoms such as fever, feeling ill and weight loss. Chest pain while breathing or coughing may also occur.

    Respiratory infections impose an immense worldwide health burden:

    • Each year almost 700,000 children die from pneumonia. 80 percent of deaths are in children under 2 years and adults above 65 years. Almost all deaths occur in low and middle-income countries.
    • Each year there are 10 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) and 1.5 million deaths. Deaths from TB occur mostly in children under 5 years and adults in the 20-35 year age range. Over 95 percent of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
    • Viral respiratory infections can occur in epidemics and spread rapidly within communities across the globe, to become global pandemics. COVID-19 is one such viral respiratory infection that has affected more than 25 million people worldwide and nearly 860,000 have died by the beginning of September 2020. The burden will continue to exponentially increase in the near future.

    WLD is an annual lung health awareness day, occurring yearly on 25 September. To date nearly 200 organisations and many more individuals support WLD through lung heath advocacy and action. This year, with respiratory health firmly in the spotlight, it is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the burden of respiratory infections and call for:

    • Health security and prevention of future COVID-19 outbreaks.
    • Predictive tests to show who is immune and who will develop disease from novel infections.
    • Diagnostic tests to identify and treat those at risk to progress once infected.
    • High quality randomised controlled trials to find the best vaccines and treatments.
    • Access to effective, affordable vaccines and treatments for all.
    • Educating all on the benefits and safety of the Influenza and Pneumococcal vaccines, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine once developed.

    To learn more about World Lung Day and download the fact sheet, graphics and pledge campaign go to the World Lung Day Toolkit.


    World Lung Cancer Day 2020:  Respiratory groups stress lung cancer risks and importance of early screening and treatment

    In support of World Lung Cancer Day, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), calls for more awareness and understanding of lung cancer risk factors, as well as the importance of early screening and treatment.

    Lung cancer is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 cancer deaths according to the World Health Organization. While lung cancer and breast cancer are diagnosed at the same rate (11.6 percent), lung cancer kills more people yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer mortality is projected to reach 2.45 million by 2030, a 39 percent increase in just over a decade.

    While most understand that smoking is the single greatest risk factor for lung cancer at 80 percent of all cases, other lesser known risk factors include the environment and genetics. Environmental exposure to radon, asbestos, arsenic, beryllium and uranium has been linked to lung cancer. The risk of lung cancer also increases with a history of cancer in another part of the body, age, family history, radiation to the chest area and lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    Access to screening options and education is vital for early detection and treatment. Low-income countries, where survival rates are significantly below the average, report only a 15 percent availability of treatment through public health systems. More that 90 percent of high-income countries report vital access to care.

    Lung cancer symptoms include change in mucus, chest or back pain, coughing up blood and difficulty swallowing. Tests that may be used to diagnose lung cancer include chest x-rays, CT and PET scans, bronchoscopy and needle biopsies. If you are a current or former smoker and over the age of 55, you may be a candidate for a low-dose CT scan screening that can potentially detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.

    Read the World Lung Cancer Day fact sheet here

     


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