Noncommunicable diseases and asthma - where are we in 2022?
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) continue to represent a huge threat to the health, growth, and development of countries across the globe. This diverse group of conditions includes chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancers. In 2019, 74% of global deaths were due to NCDs, with approximately 4 million deaths caused by chronic respiratory diseases.
Despite political commitments from three United Nations High Level Meetings on NCDs and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, progress to reduce the impact of NCDs is regrettably inadequate. This is particularly true in poorer parts of the world.
Currently, there are no countries on track to achieve all the nine voluntary global targets for 2025 set by the World Health Assembly in 2013, against a baseline in 2010. The World Health Organization(WHO) Global Monitoring Report for Universal Health Coverage in 2019 shows very little change on NCD services and capacities since 2000, particularly in low-income countries.
To compound the situation, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the provision of services for chronic diseases, with over half of countries reporting disruption to asthma services in late 2021.
The Global Asthma Report 2022 comes at a time when the world has heightened understanding of the importance of healthy lungs. Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, many have watched friends and relatives struggle to breathe, and know the limitations that lung-related problems can place on daily activities.
The report highlights the many challenges relating to the prevention and management of asthma. Case studies describe the frustrations of people living with asthma, their families, and their health care providers. Delay in diagnosis and limited access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential inhaled medicines, adversely affect the provision of asthma care in many countries.
Congratulations to the Global Asthma Network for bringing together the most recent research findings, treatment recommendations and country perspectives. The result is a valuable tool which can be used for advocacy at many levels, with suggested actions for a variety of stakeholders.
With less than ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to act now to save lives and reduce health inequities. We look forward to continuing efforts together with the Global Asthma Network, and many others, to improve care for people living with asthma across the world.