Around the world an estimated 1,000 people a day die of asthma related conditions, with some 340 million affected by this common chronic disease.
In New Zealand more than 521,000 people are taking medicines for asthma − one in nine adults and one in seven children. It causes a death here every week.
World Asthma Day is marked on 1 May, and internationally, medical professionals and researchers are taking the opportunity to draw attention to this too common chronic disease. It can be found in every country but has particularly harsh consequences in places where people have limited access to medicines because they cost too much are not prescribed, or are not available in pharmacies.
The GAN Steering Group held their annual meeting in Murcia, Spain, on 6 & 7 September 2017, where the main topic was analyses of data.
The meeting was reported on by the local media.
The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has recently received two prestigious grants: MRC Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) for Lung Health in Africa across the Life Course led by Dr Kevin Mortimer and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Unit on Lung Health and Tuberculosis in Africa led by Professor Bertie Squire. They have many partners including GAN. The first meeting of the investigators and partners was held in Blantyre, Malawi from 10 to 14 July 2017 (attended by GAN Chair Innes Asher). At this meeting the planning was started for (i) methodology for the measurement of non-communicable (NCD) respiratory disease exposures and outcomes tailored to the challenges of conducting research in resource-constrained African environments (ii) generation of high quality preliminary data from multiple African sites (iii) a strategic multi-disciplinary partnership of paediatric and adult lung health investigators from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, The Gambia and Uganda, aiming to improve lung health and TB outcomes in Africa. See the photo of some of the African attendees.
Photo left to right: Asma El Sony (Sudan), Refiloe Masekela (South Africa), Irene Ayakaka (Uganda), Hellen Meme (Kenya), Amsalu Bekele (Ethiopia), Adegoke Falade (Nigeria), Bertrand Mbatchou (Cameroon), Emmanuel Addo-Yobo (Ghana), Stellah Mpagama (Tanzania), Hastings Banda (Malawi), Innes Asher (New Zealand)
The latest estimates from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study estimate that there were 3.6 million deaths from the two most common chronic respiratory diseases in 2015. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) accounts for most of the deaths (3.2 million), but asthma accounts for a much greater share of the disease burden, particularly in children.
The causes of COPD are well-known, with most cases being due to smoking or outdoor air pollution, as well as indoor air pollution, occupational exposures, ozone and second-hand smoke.
On the other hand, the causes of asthma are still largely unknown, despite the fact that asthma represents a large public health burden, and prevalence is increasing as the world becomes more affluent and westernized.
Global Asthma Network survey suggests more national asthma strategies could reduce burden of asthma
Asher I, Haahtelab T, Selroosc O, et al. Global Asthma Network survey suggests more national asthma strategies could reduce burden of asthma. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2017; 45(2): 105-114. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aller.2016.10.013.
The second edition of the Global Impact of Respiratory Disease was recently published by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, with a foreword from Nikolai Khaltaev. This report was launched on 25 May 2017 at a side event during the World Health Assembly and was cosponsored by GARD.