WHO Strategy for prevention and control of Chronic
Respiratory conditions impose an enormous burden on society. According to the WHO World
Health Report 2000, the top five respiratory diseases account for 17.4% of all deaths and
13.3% of all Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). Lower respiratory tract infections,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tuberculosis and lung cancer are each among
the leading 10 causes of death worldwide. Based partly on demographic changes in the
developing world, but also on changes in health care systems, schooling, income, and
tobacco use, the burden of communicable diseases is likely to lessen while the burden of
chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) including asthma, COPD, and lung cancer will worsen
because of tobacco use and population ageing.
So far, estimates of COPD have been based primarily on mortality statistics. These provide
misleading figures because COPD is underdiagnosed and often not listed either as a primary
or contributory cause of death. Estimates of prevalence require measurement of airflow
obstruction. Consequently, few countries have good population-based data on COPD
prevalence. Nevertheless, estimates show death and disability due to COPD are increasing
across most regions for males and females.
Asthma, having a relatively low fatality rate, draws less attention than other respiratory
conditions, despite the fact that it affects about 150 million people world-wide and is
the most prevalent chronic disease in childhood. High prevalence of childhood asthma
observed during the last decades predicts the growing prevalence of asthma in the nearest
future unless appropriate preventive measures are undertaken.
The Global Strategy for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, developed
in direct response to the global threat posed by noncommunicable diseases and endorsed by
the Fifty-Third World Health Assembly, cites chronic respiratory disease as one of the
four priority disease groups to be addressed.
Section 1 - Section 2 - Section 3 - Section 4 - Section 5 - Section 6- Section 7