The Global Asthma Network was established in 2012 to improve asthma care globally, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries, through enhanced surveillance, research collaboration, capacity building and access to quality-assured essential medicines.
The Network is a collaboration between individuals from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).
The Global Asthma Network follows on from the Global Asthma Report 2011, launched at the time of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in New York on 19–20 September 2011. The Global Asthma Report 2011 highlights issues surrounding asthma, the most common chronic disease among children which also affects millions of adults around the world. It provides an overview of what is known and uncertain about the causes and triggers of the disease, the global prevalence, the implementation of management guidelines, the progress being made and the significant challenges today and for the future. It was designed to engage government ministers, policy-makers, health workers, asthma sufferers, donors and media in efforts to improve asthma care globally.
The Global Asthma Network is building on the work achieved by the ISAAC programme over the last 20 years. It operates on the same principle of collaborative and systematic application of standardised methodologies. A Global Asthma Network data centre operates from Auckland, New Zealand, communicating methodologies, analysing data, and developing and maintaining this website. The global asthma surveillance work pioneered by ISAAC has merged with the activities that The Union has pursued over the years: a) field evaluation and research into the management of asthma, conducted by its Department of Lung Health and Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) with in-country partners; b) access to essential medicines, through its Asthma Drug Facility providing access to quality-assured, affordable essential asthma medicines; and c) operational research and capacity-building, notably through The Union’s Centre for Operational Research.
The network has a Steering Group comprised of selected individuals from The Union and from the former ISAAC network, and an Executive Team, chaired by Innes Asher. All centres that participated in ISAAC have been formally invited to become members of the Global Asthma Network, and others are welcome. Links with Ministries of Health, health services, universities, non-governmental organisations and patient organisations are sought.
The Global Asthma Network strives for a world where no-one suffers from asthma. It is the asthma surveillance hub for the world, researches ways of reducing the burden of asthma, promotes access to appropriate asthma management, stimulates and encourages capacity building in low and middle income countries, strives to ensure global access to quality-assured essential medications, and raises the profile of asthma as a major NCD.
Our centres have been surveyed to collect further information on the topics addressed in the Global Asthma Report 2011: asthma prevalence and severity, national guidelines on asthma management, and the availability, pricing and affordability of essential asthma medicines. Research studies will address how people are getting diagnosed with asthma; unplanned visits including emergency room visits and hospital admissions; and evaluation of different policies for management of asthma in children and adults. The results of these surveys and research studies are included in the Global Asthma Report 2014.