Asthma is a highly prevalent non-communicable disease affecting around 1 in 10 children and adolescents and 1 in 15 adults globally (1-5). Most people with asthma can be treated effectively with inhaled medicines on the WHO Essential Medicines List but accessing affordable care near their homes is a challenge for many people with asthma living in resource-constrained low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) (5-8).
In this talk we share stories from six men, women and children living with asthma from different LMICs across the six WHO regions. These patient stories from South Africa, India, Türkiye, Sudan, México, and Fiji highlight several of the kinds of difficulties people with asthma in LMICs face trying to access effective, affordable and timely asthma care and the impact of asthma on their lives. Although each story gives only a single patient voice from these countries, they all offer examples of common scenarios faced by people with asthma and their families in resource-constrained LMIC settings. These stories illustrate the impact of severe asthma and the need for specialist hospital input care, challenges around establishing a diagnosis and accessing effective treatment, the impact of asthma-related stigma, and difficulties caused by natural disasters, war, and climate change.
With appropriate effort and investment, we could overcome or at least mitigate many of the issues that make life with asthma in LMICs a struggle for many (1,5,8). Key to achieving this is to overcome the problem of limited availability and affordability of essential WHO medicines for the treatment of asthma.
GAN gratefully acknowledges funding from the University of Auckland and Wellcome (Grant number 203919/Z/16/Z) as well as sponsorship from AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline that has helped to make the GAN Symposium 2024 possible. We thank the speakers and the organisations they represent for their contributions including securing their own funding to enable their participation. The Symposium programme was developed independently by the GAN Steering Group.
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