Governments need to make asthma a health priority

The Global Asthma Report 2014


The World Health Organization (WHO) should

  • add essential asthma medicines to their Prequalification Programme, promote the standardisation of the dosages of active ingredients in combined inhalers and the harmonisation of quality requirements for inhalers across international reference documents such as the pharmacopoeias.

Governments should

  • commit to research, intervention, and monitoring to reduce the burden of asthma in the world. Global surveillance of asthma requires standardised measures of asthma implemented in large scale surveys of both children and adults in diverse settings worldwide;
  • include asthma in all their actions arising from the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) 2013-2020, and the WHO NCD Global Monitoring Framework;
  • ensure that they have a list of essential medicines for asthma which includes both inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilator in dosages recommended by WHO, and that these are available, quality-assured, and affordable for everyone in their countries;
  • ensure all asthma inhalers procured, distributed and sold in their countries meet international quality standards;
  • particularly in low-income countries, make commitments to ensure that the supply of quality-assured, affordable essential asthma medicines is uninterrupted, health professionals are appropriately trained, and health services are organised to manage asthma;
  • particularly in low- and middle-income countries make asthma a health priority, in order to more quickly invest in asthma research relevant to their populations, integrate care at community and primary health care levels with appropriate referral procedures, and develop capacity in standard case management of asthma;
  • strengthen policies to reduce tobacco consumption, encourage healthy eating and reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, smoke and dust. Funders need to support further research to identify causes of asthma;
  • measure and monitor the economic costs of asthma in their countries, including health care costs and productivity losses.

Health authorities in all countries should

  • develop national strategies and action plans to improve asthma management and reduce costs;
  • ensure the availability of nationally approriate asthma management guidelines and provide access for everyone to the quality-assured, affordable essential asthma medicines those guidelines recommend;
  • encourage their health professionals to attend short courses relevant to asthma research and policy;
  • collect counts of hospital admissions in children and adults, from defined catchment populations, to monitor trends in asthma over time;
  • report rates of asthma deaths in children and adults to monitor progress in asthma care and as an early warning of epidemics of fatal asthma.

Health professionals in all countries should