Country Reports from the Eastern Mediterranean Region
The burden of asthma in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) is substantial; rapidly changing lifestyles, war and conflict zones that encompass numerous countries are contributing to the increasing prevalence of asthma. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the prevalence of asthma in EMRO at 8% in adults. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase III estimated asthma prevalence to be 10.6% in male and 7.9% in female adolescents (13-14 year olds); 10.3% in male and 8.5% in female children (6-7 year olds). Asthma remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Essential asthma medicines such as inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and long-acting β2-agonists (LABA) are not available or affordable for all. Health systems are weak and not multi-sectorial, national guidelines and patient education are rarely present, with the exception of the Gulf States. The Global Asthma Network (GAN) followed 13 to 18 years after ISAAC to measure trends in prevalence, risk factors and management. Five country profiles are presented, with a conclusion and recommendations.