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November 2013

World’s Leading Lung Societies Unite to Call for Improvements in Healthcare

Experts  from the world’s leading lung organisations have come together for the first  time to call for a worldwide effort to improve healthcare policies, systems and  care delivery to make a positive difference to the lung health of the world.
Produced  by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), the report has been  launched today on World COPD Day (20 November 2013), providing an overview of  lung health across the globe.
Entitled Respiratory diseases in the world.  Realities of Today – Opportunities for Tomorrow, the report features five  major disease areas that are of immediate and greatest concern. These include COPD,  which is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.
"We have long known that lung  diseases have been under-recognized as leading causes of morbidity and  mortality worldwide," says ATS President-elect Tom Ferkol, MD, the  ATS representative on the writing committee. "Hopefully, this  document will raise the profile of these conditions and compel decision-makers  to action."
COPD  is the only major disease that is increasing in prevalence worldwide and on all  continents. The key element of reducing and controlling COPD is reducing and  controlling tobacco use, which is best addressed through political and public  health initiatives.
The  report includes 10 key recommendations that FIRS considers to be essential to  help reduce the burden of COPD and all respiratory diseases, such as reducing  and eliminating the use of all tobacco products, improving early diagnosis of  lung diseases, recognising and correcting the impact of malnutrition, and  increasing policymakers’ awareness that respiratory health is vital for global  health and, ultimately, national economies.
Past ATS President  Dean Schraufnagel, MD, is senior reviewer/writer of the report, and serves as a  representative of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung  Disease. He also edited the ATS book Breathing in  America: Diseases, Progress, and Hope, which is  available here.
To download a full copy of the FIRS report,  please visit: http://thoracic.org/advocacy/global-public-health/firs/index.php.