Asthma remains a worldwide health problem
Asthma is one of the common non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It affects around 339 million people in all regions of the world (Appendix A). It causes a high global burden of death and disability, with around 1000 people dying each day from asthma, and is in the top 20 causes of years of life lived with disability. Yet many people, especially in lowand middle-income countries (LMICs), are unable to access the quality-assured essential asthma medicines and care they need.
The United Nations (UN) has included asthma in all its NCD deliberations, with three High Level Meetings to date (2011, 2014, 2018). The UN General Assembly in 2011 made a political declaration on the prevention and control of NCDs, focussing world attention on the increasing threat of these diseases to global health, social welfare and economic development, especially in LMICs.
In 2015 the UN created the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, aiming to transform our world, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. Among the SDGs, Goal 3 “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” specifically addresses health priorities. Several targets and indicators address issues related to reducing the global burden of asthma. The Global Asthma Report 2018 has been prepared by the Global Asthma Network (GAN) to give a state-of-the-art analysis of asthma in the world, in the context of the UN’s leadership. Authors include GAN Steering Group members and invited authors with additional expertise from many countries around the world.
Designed for the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO), government ministers, policy-makers, health authorities, health professionals, professional societies, patient organisations, asthma support organisations, industry, funders, and people living with asthma, this report gives an update of what is known about the global burden of asthma and where the gaps lie. It makes recommendations to authorities on required actions, especially management and care of asthma and capacity building, and ways of making asthma a global priority.
It is encouraging to see that recognition of asthma as a global problem has increased since the first Global Asthma Report 2011 was published by The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC); and the second Global Asthma Report 2014 published by GAN. The Forum of International Respiratory Societies published its second major report in 2017 “The Global Impact of Respiratory Disease”. It calls for respiratory health in the world to be a top priority in global decision-making, and highlights asthma as one of the five most important respiratory diseases in the world.
All these activities, concerns, developments and knowledge have informed the contents of the Global Asthma Report 2018 and its recommendations. We hope you will find it useful. We will continue to work together to increase the worldwide understanding of this disease, and to reduce the burden and suffering from asthma, over the next few years.