Satisfactory asthma care although some problems exist with refugee and immigrant children
Trends in the prevalence of asthma and hospital admissions
Greece is a country with a low prevalence of childhood asthma estimated at 7% in adolescents, according to the recent results of the GAN Phase I study. This fact should be at least partly attributed to the Mediterranean climate and the sunny weather that prevails most of the year. As in other westernised societies, there was initially a rapid increase in the prevalence of asthma in the 1980s and 1990s, followed by a plateau in the 2000s and a slight decline thereafter.
In addition, there has been a significant decline in paediatric asthma admissions since the early 1990s, as a result of increased disease awareness, the introduction of treatment guidelines and the release of new medicines.
Medical care of patients with asthma
Medical care for asthma patients has improved significantly during the last decades in Greece. Τhe training of primary care paediatricians in asthma management, combined with the establishment of treatment guidelines has led to a significant reduction in the number of children with poorly controlled asthma. Today, most children with asthma have access to respiratory specialists and even those with severe, uncontrolled asthma have the opportunity to receive costly but effective treatments such as omalizumab and immunotherapy.
However, in recent years there has been an increasing influx of refugee and immigrant arrivals. Despite the state's policy of providing access to public healthcare services, the barrier of language and the lengthy bureaucratic procedures may sometimes result in a delayed and suboptimal quality of medical care. As a consequence, it is not unusual for many refugee and immigrant children to visit repeatedly the Emergency Departments (ED) due to asthma exacerbations.