Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”
(New York, NY) – World Lung Foundation (WLF) released the following statement for World Asthma Day 2010:
“Asthma is a disease that can be managed, yet it remains a source of suffering for more than 300 million people around the world. While prevalence of asthma symptoms has been reduced in the United States and Western Europe, it has increased significantly in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia. The trend is acute among children under five years of age.
A more coordinated system-wide approach to asthma management is needed, one which combines better data collection, diagnosis training across health practitioner specialties, public education, and an affordable supply of medicine. While such efforts independently exist in many countries, they are rarely coordinated to reduce the burden of asthma.
One such program, administered by the Kenya Association Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease(KAPTLD) and funded by World Lung Foundation, has taken a comprehensive approach to improving asthma management:
- Standardized data survey instruments and questionnaires have been introduced to improve data collection about the burden of asthma
- Hundreds of health practitioners across several specialties were trained on basic diagnosis, including clinical officers, nurses, pediatricians and nutritionists
- Highly subsidized asthma medication is being procured from the Asthma Drug Facility, an innovative program developed by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease to pool demand, increase transparency and facilitate competition to lower the cost of medications
- A public education campaign is being prepared to improve understanding of the environmental and other triggers so parents can recognize symptoms before a serious attack occurs.
Such comprehensive approaches boost the system wide capacity needed to manage the chronic effects of asthma. We urge health ministries to find similar opportunities to coordinate better diagnosis, treatment and education. It is unacceptable that millions of people, many of them children, must suffer even though we have the information and tools to ease that burden.”