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May 25, 2017

A Call to Action for Lung Health – FIRS launches Global Charter for Lung Health

I’m honored to be a part of this important event celebrating the launch of the Global Impact of Respiratory Disease. With this report we now have the most up-to-date knowledge to help us improve respiratory health around the world.

The report is a valuable resource that accentuates the need to reduce the two major risk factors for lung disease–tobacco use and air pollution. The report’s eight essential actions empower us to call for the prevention measures, treatment methods and research that will reduce the enormous burden of respiratory disease in our world today.

I’m delighted to announce that the Forum of International Respiratory Societies is launching the world’s first Global Charter for Lung Health. The Charter will bring vital attention to lung health in the 21st century, and promote greater awareness about the misery and burden of ill health that respiratory diseases cause worldwide every day. It will emphasize the importance of maintaining healthy lungs in children today to enable their participation as healthy world citizens tomorrow.

The Charter will mobilize the global community to combat lung disease by

Improving access to safe, effective and affordable health and preventive care, such as strengthened childhood immunizations

Supporting the implementation of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Promoting action to control indoor and outdoor air pollution, including universal access to clean household energy for cooking and heating

And supporting lung research for curing as well as preventing disease that can be rapidly implemented.

Gains in each of these areas will bring us so much farther on our path to fulfill the targets for global health on the Agenda for Sustainable Development.

They will reduce one of the leading risks not just for respiratory diseases, but for other NCDs as well as the world’s leading infectious disease, tuberculosis.

They will improve not only lives, but also bolster livelihoods—both in terms of the economic stability of individuals and families, and the strength of national economies.

Most importantly, the Charter brings signatories together to affirm that living conditions that support lung health are a human right.

Respiratory Disease is the only disease included in the World Health Organization’s list of the leading NCDs that does not yet have an observance day.

To bring focus to this pressing worldwide endeavor, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies and the Charter for Lung Health are establishing September 25 as World Lung Day.

Exactly four months from today, we will mark the first observance of World Lung Day, and each year from now on, people around the world will be reminded about the critical importance of lung issues.

World days of recognition can provide a galvanizing force for advocacy around diseases and conditions—and we are delighted to see lung and respiratory diseases join Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Disease as worthy of our utmost attention and vigilance.

To make World Lung Day a success, the Forum will rally 100,000 people—including thousands of clinicians, members of civil society, and people living with respiratory diseases—to sign the Charter for Lung Health by September 25, 2020. By signing, we commit our willingness to mobilize around the prevention of lung disease through clean air, healthy environments, and effective disease prevention and treatment.

Please join me in thanking the Forum of Respiratory Societies for this important new report, and for its calls to action.

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