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On World Asthma Day Respiratory Health Associations Call for Asthma Care for All

NEW YORK, NY –May 02,2023 –The theme for World Asthma Day 2023 (May 2) is “Asthma care for all”. The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which the American Thoracic Society is a founding member, is calling on health care leaders and policy makers to ensure access to effective, quality-assured medications, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

Asthma is a major noncommunicable disease, affecting both children and adults, and is the most common chronic disease among children. Asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 455 000 deaths.

Airway Inflammation drives asthma symptoms, including a cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. The focus of asthma treatment is inflammation in the lungs.

Most of the burden of asthma morbidity and mortality occurs in low- and middle-income countries, where the disease is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. Essential inhaled medications, particularly those containing inhaled corticosteroids, are often unavailable or unaffordable, and this explains much of the global burden of preventable asthma morbidity and mortality.

It is unacceptable that, despite the availability of highly effective therapies, global inequality in asthma care deprives so many children, adolescents and adults of healthy lives and puts them at increased risk of death. A World Health Assembly Resolution on universal access to affordable and effective asthma care is needed to focus attention and investment on addressing this need.