On May 7th, airways diseases patients celebrated World Asthma Day all over the globe to raise awareness for the disease. In Europe, EFA communicated about current problems related to access to diagnosis, treatment and self-management asthma patients experience in their daily lives, with new evidence extracted from our 2018 Active Patients Access Care Survey.

New data show European asthma patients are not accessing the care they need

To mark World Asthma Day, EFA in collaboration with members highlighted that asthma is not as well diagnosed and controlled as it should be in Europe.

Our focus was intimately linked to the theme promoted by the WHO Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), STOP for Asthma, an acronym linked to asthma diagnosis and treatment guidelines.

For example, EFA evidence shows that 25% of asthma patients visit at least once a year the emergency room, independently of the severity of their disease. Furthermore, one in two severe asthma patients end up in a hospital once a year. As Giuseppe de Carlo EFA’s Director of Operations puts it: “This is not the way to treat asthma, not to mention the impact and disruption it has on the lives of people with asthma, their partners and carers”.

WAD 2019 social media card 3

Yet, ending up in the emergency room is not the most surprising finding on asthma. In fact, 16% of patients who participated in our project initially received a wrong diagnosis and got the right one only after around 4.5 years. A life gap that results in a bitter recognition: 2 in 5 asthma patients in Europe think they might be healthier today, had they received an earlier diagnosis.

One of the most worrying results from our survey is that 60% of patients with mild asthma take emergency relief medicine to treat their symptoms.

WAD 2019 social media card 5

Great mobilisation from EFA members around World Asthma Day

We were happy to see the numerous mobilisation and advocacy activities that EFA Members ran throughout the day and convened on social media.

EFA Member Federasma e Allergie Italia carried out a lot of activities around World Asthma Day and, among others, participated in a press-conference and a booth at the Rome Gemelli Hospital Lobby to contact patients and raise awareness among the general public.

Asthma Society Ireland launched a video on the five steps to take to save a life during an asthma attack. The video aims at counteracting results of a survey completed by 1,081 people showing that nearly seven out of ten people with asthma would not know the “5 Step Rule” to manage an asthma attack.

Our Member from Spain, FENAER, also published a video in light of World Asthma Day announcing the celebration of an Asthma Awareness Month in Spain. Throughout May, FEANER will organise several meetings all over Spain raising awareness for better asthma care.

Asthma UK ran a bake for asthma campaign until May 17th. The Big Asthma Bake Sale invited people to bake and sell cakes to fundraise money for people living with asthma. More information on the campaign can be found on twitter #BigAsthmaBakeSale or on their website.