World Asthma Day on 5 May focuses on chronic lung disease affecting over 300 million

World Asthma Day is held each year on the first Tuesday of May to draw attention to and build support for a lung disease that affects up to 334 million people, according to the Global Burden of Diseases Study, published in 2012.

Asthma is an inflammation of the airways that interferes with the ability to breathe, and though not curable, it can be controlled with proper management. Unfortunately in the low- and middle-income countries where 80% of asthma sufferers live, resources from correct diagnosis to affordable quality-assured medicines are often not available.  This means that the quality of life and productivity of millions of people are diminished, and close to 250,000 die each year – deaths that might have been avoided with effective management. 

In 2014, the Global Asthma Network published an updated version of the Global Asthma Report that highlighted key points about asthma:

  • Asthma that is well controlled imposes far less of an economic and personal burden than non-controlled asthma.
  • Strategies for improving access and adherence to evidence-based therapies can be effective in reducing the burden of asthma in all countries.
  • Implementation of relatively simple measures within a systematic national or local strategy can improve early detection of asthma and provide effective preventive treatment.
  • Asthma management guidelines are essential to manage asthma successfully and promote the delivery of quality care; these are widely available.
  • More research and new surveys are needed to address issues such as the factors causing asthma and to fill data gaps.
  • Political commitment and action are required to make the burden of asthma a thing of the past.

To learn more, visit the Global Asthma Network website and download the Global Asthma Report 2014: