Asthma is a chronic, non-communicable lung condition which affects more than 300 million people worldwide. Currently it is estimated that 1000 people die every day as a direct result of asthma, largely because the vast majority of those affected live in low- and middle-income countries where access to basic effective asthma care is limited, and often prohibitively expensive when available.

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Quality long-term management can substantially reduce the burden of asthma. This includes using relatively simple measures within a systematic national or local strategy which can improve early detection of asthma and provide effective preventive treatment as well as ensuring access to affordable essential medicines.

In collaboration with the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), The Union founded the Global Asthma Network (GAN). Its aim is 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. GAN have produced The Global Asthma Report 2022.  

Addressing the global burden of asthma features in multiple goals in The Union’s Strategic Plan for Lung Health 2020-2025. The plan’s priority themes are: lung health across the life course; and lung health and well-being after TB.

Looking ahead, The Union will work closely with the Adult and Child Lung Health (ACLH) Section, Asthma Working Group to:

  • draft a refreshed set of objectives focused on improving access to quality-assured and affordable asthma medicines that are included in the WHO Essential Medicines list
  • engage with major international guideline/strategy initiatives including the Global Initiative for Asthma to maximise their relevance for people living in poverty and other conditions of disadvantage.