Chronic respiratory diseases

World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day

Chronic disease advocacy poster.
WHO/Marko Kokic

16 November 2011 -- World COPD Day is a global effort to expand understanding of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and advocate for better care for patients. Organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, the Day is marked by activities implemented by health care professionals and patient groups throughout the world.

Global status report on noncommunicable diseases

Noncommunicable diseases are the leading killer today and are on the increase, the WHO Global status report on noncommunicable diseases launched in April 2011 confirms. In 2008, 36.1 million people died from conditions such as heart disease, strokes, chronic lung diseases, cancers and diabetes. Nearly 80% of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

UN high-level meeting on NCDs

19-20 September 2011 -- The four main noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) - cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes - kill three in five people worldwide, and cause great socioeconomic harm within all countries, particularly developing nations. The decision by UN General Assembly to convene a high-level meeting on NCDs presents a unique opportunity for the intenational community to take action against the epidemic, save millions of lives and enhance development initiatives.


fact buffet

235 million Some 235 million people currently suffer from asthma.

Fact sheet: asthma

90%Almost 90% of COPD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Fact sheet: COPD

3 million More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005.

Health topic: COPD

About the topic

Chronic respiratory diseases are chronic diseases of the airways and other structures of the lung. Some of the most common are: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, occupational lung diseases and pulmonary hypertension.

About us

The aim of the WHO Chronic Respiratory Diseases Programme is to support Member States in their efforts to reduce the toll of morbidity, disability and premature mortality related to chronic respiratory diseases, and specifically, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Contact us

World Health Organization
Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion Department
Chronic Respiratory Diseases
20 Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneva 27