Asthma affects 235 million people worldwide, and an estimated 250,000 people worldwide die from asthma annually. Most of these occur in those over 45 years old which is largely preventable.
In the Philippines, about 10.7 million people have asthma, which is the most common chronic disease of childhood and is the leading cause of childhood morbidity from chronic disease as measured by school absences, emergency visits and hospitalizations. There has been a sharp increase in the global prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and economic burden associated with asthma over the last 40 years, particularly in children, and it is estimated that another 100 million people will suffer from asthma by 2025.
The cost incurred by asthma, particularly uncontrolled asthma, is substantial. Asthma was PhilHealth’s 13th most reimbursed condition in 2011 with 61,219 claims and for which Philhealth paid Php369 million. This increased to 92,981 and became the 6th most reimbursed condition in 2012, and for which Philhealth spent Php836.829 million.
Despite the availability of treatment guidelines and medicines for the treatment and management of asthma, the majority of patients with asthma remain to be uncontrolled, thus leading to compromised lives. According to the AIRAP 26 study, only 1% of children with asthma in the Philippines are well-controlled.
The good news is that, while asthma can be a serious condition, it can be controlled. Access to doctors and treatment has been shown to significantly decrease asthma deaths and hospitalizations. People with asthma can lead normal and active lives. They can even excel.
By launching the Win Against Asthma campaign this year, Glaxo-SmithKline (GSK) is taking a very big opportunity to increase awareness and amplify existing efforts to spread information about asthma and how it can be managed. GSK strongly believes and advocates that in partnership with their doctors, asthma patients can realize that their condition need not deter them from achieving their goals.