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  Asia-Pacific
'You Can Control Your Asthma': Dr. Nils Billo
By Bobby Ramakant
Asia Correspondent
This year, World Asthma Day is organised around the theme,
"You Can Control Your Asthma."

"Prof. Nadia At-Khaled, Head of The Union's Asthma Division, has coordinated studies in numerous low- and middle-income countries, implementing the standardised management recommendations explained in our Asthma Guide. After one year of standardised management, the severity of asthma decreased dramatically for the majority of patients and the number of emergency room visits and hospitalisations decreased by more than 70%. Thus, the implementation of such standardised management can significantly improve a patient's asthma, and reduce health costs for patients, their families, communities and governments" said Dr. Nils E Billo, Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD), also known as 'The Union.'

"Furthermore, large epidemiological studies have shown that asthma is on the rise throughout the world. This increase can be observed essentially in low- and middle-income countries, where access to treatment - even to the essential asthma drugs recommended by the World Health Organization - is particularly difficult and costly" said Dr. Billo.

The Union is the leading international organisation established in 1920 to fight TB and promote lung health worldwide.

Over 300 million people in the world suffer from asthma, and there are over 250,000 asthma-related deaths each year. Although asthma is a potentially life-threatening chronic respiratory condition, it can be successfully treated and controlled.

This year's theme on World Asthma Day is: "You can control your asthma" which sends a clear message: with proper management, patients can control their own asthma. The Union strongly supports this message.

Dr. Chiang Chen-Yuan, Director of the Lung Health Department of The Union, stated "Asthma is one of the most common inflammatory lung diseases in the world. However, it can be successfully treated and controlled through effective management — by identifying a patient's risk factors, assessing the appropriate treatment and monitoring the evolution of the disease."

The Union assists countries in their efforts to improve asthma care. It provides technical assistance and a practical guide with tools and training materials for the management of asthma. It conducts operational research with its network of international experts in low- and middle-income settings. The Union also advocates for more equitable access to quality asthma drugs and care. To this end, it is developing the Asthma Drug Facility, a mechanism that provides access to affordable good quality essential drugs.



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Bobby Ramakant, who serves as The Seoul Times' Asia correspondent, is a member of NATT, Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals, and edits Weekly MONiTOR series, reporting violations of tobacco control policies as a senior public health and development journalist. He writes for newspapers in 11 countries and can be reached at bobbyramakant@yahoo.com)

 

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