Training of health personnel an important strategy
The city of San Francisco (Córdoba Province), is in the centre of Argentina. It has 60,000 inhabitants and is an industrial city with a low level of atmospheric pollution, surrounded by a rural environment with a predominance of agricultural activity (planting cereals).
Increase in the prevalence of asthma
A study using the ISAAC questionnaire was undertaken in urban children in San Francisco city and the surrounding rural area in 2006. The prevalence of asthma symptoms in adolescents was 12.9%. As part of the GAN Phase I study, undertaken in the same sampling frame in 2019, the prevalence of asthma symptoms in adolescents significantly increased to 21.4%.
Reported asthma ever increased from 4.3% in 2006 to 15.7% in GAN in 2019. Additionally, in GAN, only 8.3% had a written asthma plan. This could be due to constraints in training strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of asthmatic patients.
Campaigns to improve diagnosis and treatment
A Ministry of Health campaign started in 2018 to reduce mortality from asthma in patients aged 5-39 years through the training of health personnel and to promote the use of spirometers in first contact centres. On the other hand, the dissemination of Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) strategy, the availability of inhaled budesonide and salbutamol at no cost to the population when medically indicated, may have contributed to the increase in the prevalence of asthma diagnosis.