Union President calls for action to establish World Lung Day

Today, 5 September, The Union's President, Dr Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa has sent the following letter to all Union members calling for united action to support the establishment of ‘World Lung Day’:

Dear Members

I am writing about a subject that resonates with you all – the effects of lung disease on health and wellbeing – and to ask your help with a call to action that will positively impact lung health around the world.

At this year’s World Health Assembly, the Forum for International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which The Union is a member, proclaimed that lung health should have a dedicated world day – much the same as tuberculosis (TB), heart disease and almost every other chronic health issue – to raise awareness of the impact of respiratory diseases and create a moment in time that focuses world attention on these deadly disorders that disable, diminish and prematurely end so many lives.  

To highlight this critical issue, FIRS has produced a Charter for Lung Health and a petition calling for 25 September to be officially recognised as World Lung Day. We are aiming for 100,000 signatures and support from both individuals and lung health organisations to actively sign up and develop activities and events to celebrate lung health.

We need urgent action because the figures speak for themselves. Every year, 65 million people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 3 million die from it, making it the third leading cause of death worldwide; 10 million people develop TB and 1.4 million die from it, making it the most common lethal infectious disease; 1.6 million people die from lung cancer, making it the most deadly cancer; 334 million people suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic disease of childhood; pneumonia kills millions of people, making it a leading cause of death in the very young and very old. At least two billion people are exposed to toxic indoor smoke; one billion inhale polluted outdoor air; and one billion are exposed to tobacco smoke.

Enough is enough. We cannot allow this to continue.

We urge you to sign the charter for lung health and add your voice to ours in insisting to governments, health organisations, businesses and individuals that clean air and healthy lungs are an essential element of human health and central to all our futures. On 25 September 2017, you can also support our campaign by organising your own ways to highlight this day and the issues that have prompted it.

Support World Lung Day – sign the petition