Asthma is an incurable but manageable illness. In India alone, 3% of the population ( 30 million people) suffers from Asthma About 2% of women in the age group of 15 to 49 years (of which 1% of women in the age group of 15 to 19 years) and 1% of men in the age group 15 to 49 years, in India, suffer from self-reported asthma. Asthma is ranked 23rd on the Global Burden of Disease list ranking diseases based on economic cost and the degree of disability caused. Developing countries endure 80% of all asthma-related fatalities. Also, the access to able healthcare that reduces the incidence of exacerbations is skewed when compared to developed countries. Asthma impacts a person physically, psychologically, and economically.
The estimates of the economic burden caused by Asthma are plagued by inadequate reliable data but conservatively it is considered to be around 487.2 billion rupees annually for a national prevalence of 2%. Considering the importance of Asthma as an illness, a WHO (World Health Organisation) collaborative organisation was founded in 1993 named GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma ). Every year since then, World Asthma Day is observed on the first Tuesday of May. Its objective is to raise awareness about the disease. At the centre of the campaign is one repeatedly stated medical fact: Asthma is incurable but Asthma attacks (also called exacerbations) can be prevented and managed. Every year a different Asthma-related theme is chosen. For this year (2022) it is ‘Closing Gaps in Asthma Care. The aim is to reduce the costs incurred dealing with uncontrolled asthma and to address the issues concerning its treatment. In particular, the inequality of treatment outcomes in rich and poor nations, the emphasis on asthma’s chronic nature, Improving the knowledge of both asthmatics and nonasthmatics about the disease manifestations unique to asthma, and equal access to diagnostic and treatment services.
The Kerala Institute of Pharmacy takes the responsibility of spreading awareness about Asthma very seriously. As the institute trains future pharmacologists, its students will have an important role to play in closing gaps in asthma care. The identification, development, availability, and dispensation of novel chemical compounds to treat asthma is a natural extension of GINA’s objectives and who better than a trained pharmacologist to achieve those ends. KAP has always been proactive in spreading awareness about various health conditions impacting human life and the economy negatively. Each year it does so for several illnesses, asthmat being one of them. It aims to impart knowledge about asthma, in this case, to mitigate and manage this chronic illness across socioeconomic, ethnic and gender categories and improve outcomes for all. This would involve understanding the level of primary care available to Indian citizens, its relationship with per capita income and general healthcare expenditure, the quality of life, and prevalent health conditions that increase the likelihood of or the severity of asthmatic incidence. The institute requests all stakeholders to partake in its endeavour to improve the quality of asthma care in India. KAP encourages everyone to read the annually updated evidence-based GINA strategy documents to understand how the organisation intends and plans to approach the achievement of its goals and general state of the affairs.
While the Kerala Institute of Pharmacy wants the reach of the campaign to be as wide as possible, it acknowledges that the data for asthma available in each region differs in terms of reliability owing to either lack of intent or methodological errors. Also, each region has its unique challenges and all solutions offered will not be applicable or equally effective everywhere. Asthma is both a global and local challenge in terms of intervention policies and community initiatives. Please join us in this important effort to spread awareness.