In member news this month, EFA members have told us about their activities to mark World COPD Day 2012, our Finnish members join the bid to make Finland smoke-free by 2040, FFAAIR holds a COPD session and a new asthma iPhone app is launched in Ireland.
World COPD day!
EFA members from Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden all marked World COPD Day in their home countries through a large number of activities.
In France FFAAIR reported that the day was marked in 104 sites across 48 French cities this year, where members of the public could receive information on COPD and its risk factors, have their lung function measured and speak to patient organisations. To mark the day, the French Fondation du Souffle (the Breath Foundation – including FFAAIR, Comité contre les Maladies Respiratoires and the Society of pulmonologists) produced a 7 minute film featuring FFAAIR members describing their condition. The video also features young smokers’ reaction to the stories. To see the video, click here.
In Austria, the Österreichische Lungen-Union carried out a survey asking 1,006 people a variety of questions on COPD awareness. It revealed that only one third had ever heard or read about COPD before, and that ex-smokers had the highest awareness levels compared with current smokers and non-smokers.
The Swedish Heart and Lung Association held its “KOL [COPD] ain’t cool!” campaign to provide information for patients and professionals. The association also released a paper encouraging the Swedish government to play a more proactive role in reducing the number of new smokers through measures such as increasing taxes on cigarettes and introducing more rules on plain packaging. In the first weeks of November, the association also helped carry out lung spirometry tests at local hospitals while organising lectures on lung health.
Spanish member FENAER marked World COPD Day in two ways. In the morning, it held an information stand offering spirometry tests in a large shopping centre, where around 25% of the public tested was found to have respiratory problems. In the afternoon, FENAER participated in a roundtable with healthcare professionals discussing COPD and respiratory rehabilitation.
In Germany, the Hannover branch of the Patientenliga Atemwegserkrankuungen e.V. hosted its sixth working group and information event, attracting up to 100 participants. In addition, they submitted an article to a local newspaper to raise COPD awareness.
Finally, the Association of Bulgarians with Bronchial Asthma, Allergy and COPD (ABBA) marked World COPD Day by offering public spirometry tests in collaboration with healthcare professionals. ABBA had also sought to raise COPD awareness through an eight month project from January to August 2012, which focused on the region of northwest Bulgaria. The project established that nearly half of the entire population smokes there, making COPD awareness-raising in the area an urgent matter. In December, ABBA will meet with the chair of the Bulgarian Parliamentary Health Committee to work towards more governmental support of initiatives to spread awareness of respiratory health.
FFAAIR hold 1st session on COPD
The first ‘COPD session’, co-organised by French EFA member FFAAIR, took place on the 29th of September at the House of the Lung, in Paris. The session took the form of roundtable discussions and workshops led by five pulmonologists. 30 patients with COPD participated and said that they would be very interested in doing so again. FFAAIR plans to make these sessions regular.
Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation joins bid to make Finland smoke-free by 2040
The Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation has joined the ‘Smoke Free Finland 2040’ project, along with other health organisations, trade unions and civil society bodies. The aim of the project is to see smoking reduced yearly by 10%, so that Finland is fully smoke-free by the year 2040. This is good news not only for Finnish asthma patients but for the whole country!
Asthma Society of Ireland launches ‘Asthma Coach’ iPhone app
The Asthma Society of Ireland’s new iPhone App ‘Asthma Coach’ is now available to download from the Apple App Store. The app allows users to record and track their asthma symptoms, medication usage and peak flow to help them manage their condition. Users may also share their diary and a graph of their asthma activities with their healthcare professionals if they wish, and develop their own asthma management plan.