FIRS LAUNCHING THE DECADE OF THE LUNG IN SUPPORT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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Amsterdam, September 28, 2015 – The UN Member States have adopted the post 2015 development agenda during their 70th UN General Assembly meeting in New Work on 25-27 September 2015.

The outcome document entitled “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” also addresses health throughout the Declaration, establishing access to quality health care, preventing global health threats, and assuring physical and mental wellbeing as central to sustainable development.

Respiratory diseases, in particular the big five: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis and lung cancer, account for a great burden to society and are a barrier to sustainable development. Prof Heather Zar, President of FIRS, said: “Respiratory diseases are affecting more than 500 million people globally, governments, policy makers, professional societies, donors and communities need to make lung health a global health priority. In order to contribute to this ambitious goal, FIRS is pleased to launch today the Decade of the Lung, 2016-2025” in the World Village at the European Respiratory Society Congress in Amsterdam.”

This initiative aims to advocate for lung health, motivate and engage as many organizations as possible, governmental and non-governmental, to work hard in strengthening prevention efforts such as the implementation of the WHO FCTC and MPOWER to reduce the use of tobacco and to implement effective treatment programmes. Prof Jørgen Vestbo emphasized: “Prevention is key but we also need to secure access to excellent health care globally. We need to improve diagnosis and management of respiratory diseases and make sure that all affected patients in particular in low income countries have access to affordable high quality medicines.”

Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health and has both short-term and long-term adverse effects. By reducing levels of air pollution, it is possible to reduce the burden of disease not only for both chronic and acute respiratory diseases and lung cancer but also for stroke and heart disease. “With each breath, the lungs are susceptible to airborne irritants and pollutants, which compromises gas exchange and effects all tissues of the body,” said Prof Tom Ferkol, “it is therefore vital that we take urgent action to reduce the levels of air pollution.”

“Let us ensure that all countries have comprehensive plans and programmes in place to manage the big five: COPD, asthma, tuberculosis, lung cancer, acute respiratory infections, “said Heather Zar. “Please join us with your advocacy campaigns and your programmatic actions and contribute to a productive and successful Decade of the Lung. “

ABOUT FIRS

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is an organization comprised of the world’s leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American Thoracic Society (ATS), American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), Asociación Latino Americana De Tórax (ALAT), Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), European Respiratory Society (ERS), International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union) and the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS). The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.

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