Demonstration project - Finland

Finnish Allergy Programme

The Finish Allergy Programme is based upon the experience from the Finish Asthma Programme. The Allergy Programme is an educational action plan, which takes the advantage of the contact person network created during the Asthma Programme. The aim is to educate and train physicians, pharmacists and nurses in each municipal healthcare centre as aspects of asthma care, prevention and diagnosis.

Allergy is a disorder of the immune system often also referred to as "an atopy". Allergic reactions occur in people to environmental substances known as allergens.

The general aim of the Finnish Allergy Programme is to reduce the allergy burden in 2008–2018, and the Programme has six main goals:

T. Löfgren, Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa
  • To prevent the development of allergy symptoms: prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic eczema is decreased by 20%;
  • To increase tolerance against allergens: number of subjects on elimination diets caused by food allergy are decreased by 50%;
  • To improve allergy diagnostics: all patients are tested in quality certified allergy testing centres;
  • To reduce work-related allergies: allergic diseases defined as occupational are decreased by 50%;
  • To allocate resources to manage and prevent exacerbations of severe allergies: "Allergy Control Cards" are in use in the whole country and emergency visits caused by asthma are decreased by 40%; and
  • To decrease costs due to allergic diseases: predefined costs are reduced by 20%.

National collaborators in the Allergy Programme are the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the National Public Health Institute, the Social Insurance Institution, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the Associations of Finnish Pharmacies, specialist associations, the Finnish Lung Health Association FILHA and the patient organizations, the Allergy and Asthma Federation and the Pulmonary Association HELI. The last three nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are responsible for the implementation of the programme.

The Allergy Programme will also benefit from the co-operation with other GARD partners such as the European Allergy Network (GA2LEN), and the essential global guidelines and action plans, such as the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), and the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA).

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