National News

Lung Diseases on the rise in Pakistan

  • World Lung Day 2019: Sep 25th

 Respiratory diseases impose an immense worldwide health burden. The facts are shocking:

  • 384 million people suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 3 million die from it each year, making it the third leading cause of death worldwide.
  • 10 million people develop tuberculosis and 1.6 million die from it each year, making it the most common lethal infectious disease.
  • 76 million people die from lung cancer each year, making it the deadliest cancer.
  • 334 million people suffer from asthma, making it the most common chronic disease of childhood. It affects 14 percent of children globally − and is rising.
  • Pneumonia kills millions of people each year making it a leading cause of death in the very young and very old.
  • 91 percent of the world’s population live in places where poor air quality exceeds WHO guidelines.
  • In Pakistan 10% population is suffering from asthma and about 5% above the age 40, from COPD.
  • Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in Pakistani men and its preventable if smoking is avoided
  • Air quality of many Pakistani cities are worse in the world.

National Alliance for Tobacco Control and Pakistan Chest Society joins global organisations in call for healthy lungs for all on the occasion of World Lung Day (WLD) being observed today. Smoking is by far the most important risk factor responsible for chronic lung diseases, said Professor Javaid Khan, of AKU and Chair National Alliance for Tobacco Control. Rising atmospheric pollution in Pakistan in recent years could result in exponential increase in the number of cases with COPD in the country, warned Prof Khan.

Prof Ali Zubairi President PCS Sindh Chapter on the occasion of WLD said that the use of biomass fuel like wood and coal in cooking is another important cause for  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease(COPD) especially in women living in rural areas. Prof Zubairi urged the government to take measures for the implementation of clean air laws in the country as COPD can also occur from exposure to second hand smoke. Quoting AKU research work Prof Zubairi  said that Tobacco smoke pollution in Pakistani restaurants is one of the worst in the world. He demanded strict implementation of smoking ban at public places in the country. On the occasion of World Lung Day National Alliance for tobacco control and Pakistan Chest Society passed a resolution demanding

  1. Increase awareness among the public and policy makers that respiratory health is a major component of global health.
  2. Reduce the use of all tobacco products through universal enforcement of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
  3. Adopt and require World Health Organization air quality standards to reduce ambient, indoor, and occupational air pollution for all countries.
  4. Promote universal access to quality health care, essential medicines, and immunisations.
  5. Improve early diagnosis of respiratory diseases through increasing public awareness of lung health and disease.
  6. Increase training of health professionals in the country in respiratory disease.
  7. Standardise the monitoring and management of respiratory diseases with evidence-based national and international strategies.
  8. Increase research to prevent and treat respiratory diseases.

“We hope World Lung Day will provide an opportunity for action, conversation, and awareness. A unified voice of all dedicated to respiratory health will be a powerful force,” concludes Professor Javaid Khan of the Aga Khan University. –PR

September 25, 2019

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