International healthcare groups are urging greater patient education on World Asthma Day 2024.

RT’s Three Key Takeaways

  1. World Asthma Day emphasizes the empowering impact of education for asthma management, highlighting the crucial role of awareness-raising activities organized by FIRS and other respiratory societies.
  2. Despite the existence of highly effective treatments, asthma continues to pose a significant global health burden, with preventable deaths primarily attributed to underdiagnosis, inappropriate medication use, and limited access to essential treatments, particularly in low-middle-income countries.
  3. FIRS urges policymakers and pharmaceutical companies to address the ongoing issue of preventable morbidity and mortality from asthma by ensuring universal access to environmentally friendly inhaled medications and enhancing awareness among healthcare professionals and patients.

On World Asthma Day 2024 the message is clear: “Asthma Education Empowers.” The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), of which the American Thoracic Society is a founding member, stresses the crucial role of education in empowering people with asthma to manage their condition effectively and to know when to seek medical assistance.

World Asthma Day was first held in 1998, and, has grown each year to become one of the most important asthma events globally. On World Asthma Day, hundreds of awareness-raising activities will take place in countries all over the world. Further information about GINA and World Asthma Day can be found at GINA’s website: Documents detailing GINA’s global strategy for diagnosis, management, and prevention of asthma are also available at

FIRS also urges healthcare professionals to enhance their awareness of the preventable morbidity and mortality from asthma and of the published evidence on effective asthma management, so they are equipped to provide reliable information and optimal treatment for their patients. 

Asthma is one of the most common chronic non-communicable diseases that affects over 260 million people and is responsible for over 450,000 deaths each year worldwide, most of which are preventable.

Key universal issues on which education is required are:

  • under- or inaccurate diagnosis,
  • underuse of anti-inflammatory inhaled corticosteroid inhalers,
  • overuse, and over-reliance on short-acting beta2–agonist (SABA) inhalers,
  • poor recognition of patients requiring specialist assessment and further management.

In low-middle-income countries, lack of availability of inhaled medicines and especially inhaled corticosteroid-containing inhalers is a major contributor to the fact that more than 90% of asthma deaths occur in these countries.

FIRS calls on policymakers and the pharmaceutical industry to recognize the ongoing issue of preventable illness caused by this common disease, despite the existence of highly effective controller treatments, and to step up efforts to make sure environmentally friendly inhaled medications are available in all countries, ensuring everyone has access, “leaving no-one behind”.