The third chapter of the #BerokZindagi campaign “Asthma ke liye inhalers hain sahi– #InhalersHainSahi” was launched today in Nagpur. The campaign #InhalersHainSahi focuses on- tackle the social stigma around asthma, educate patients about inhalers and their benefits in asthma management and help asthmatics live an unstoppable life, especially today given the current situation across the world. Asthma is a chronic (long term) disease usually characterized by airway inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which can vary over time. India has 37.9 million cases of asthma, despite the number, the usage of inhalers which is the most effective treatment is abysmally low.
The number of patients using inhalation therapy has increased in the last few years with increased awareness and education about inhalers. Despite the high prevalence, there are social stigma and misconceptions around Respiratory illnesses and inhalers.
With eminent personalities like National Award Winner Ayushmann Khurrana, Celebrity Chef Vikas Khanna and Arjuna awardee Badminton player Parupalli Kashyap, the campaign emphasizes on the social stigma associated with asthma & -inhalers. The campaign reiterates that Inhalation therapy is the foremost and most effective medication for any asthmatic patient compared to oral therapies like tablets and syrups.
Dr.Vinit Niranjane, MBBS MD Chest, Breathe Easy Advanced Chest Care Centre & Lung Diagnostics,Nagpur commented “The general perception around inhalation therapy needs to change in the patient’s minds. The myths attached to inhalers is – high dosage, side-effects and habit forming. However, these are stigmas. I recommend inhalation therapy to almost 90% of my patients with proper counselling and education. There has been a steep increase in Asthma cases due to rising pollution levels, overcrowding, the current pandemic, etc. Inhalers are the most sought-after therapy for Asthma. Inhaled medication is better because of the direct delivery of the drug to the site of action. Proper guidance and education are required, which is why these kinds of initiatives are important.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr.Vinod Gandhi, MBBS MD Paediatrician, Gandhi Children’s Hospital, Nagpur said, “One of the trends I can see is poor awareness in people about Asthma and the right treatment. Though the acceptance of Inhalation therapies has improved a lot in the past decade, people are still unaware of the benefits of Inhalation therapy and there still exists the anxiety of addiction & dependence on inhalers. Proper education of patients and caregivers as well as training the primary care physicians, nurses about the advantages of disease control is essential to tide over this.”
The reasons for the prevalence of asthma in Nagpur include amongst others air pollution attributed to the increase in air particulate matters, pollen, smoking, food habit, nutritional deficiency, hereditary predisposition and large ignorance amongst parents. With things now opening post nine months lockdown, it is important that health is not neglected especially Asthma patients
It is very significant to change the perception of Asthma and most importantly the use of it in public. Even today, people are hesitant to use therapy fearing judgement. While inhalation treatment can play a crucial role in reducing the impact of asthma on people’s lives, compliance is crucial. With inhalers, the drug acts directly on the lungs instead of flowing through the bloodstream and other organs of the body. Thus, there is lesser drug dosage and hence fewer side effects. It is, in fact, the safest treatment option for asthmatics. Expanding one’s knowledge on this condition is vital as patients stop using Inhalation therapy mid-way which makes it difficult to control the disease.
The third chapter of Berok Zindagi continues to convey the core message that ‘Asthma ke liye Inhalers HainSahi’ (inhalers are right for asthma) and will continue in building awareness and educating everyone about asthma and its right treatment. With the success of the previous campaign, there has been an ad recall of 40% and awareness of inhalers have gone up by 10% and consideration of inhalers has gone up by 5%.2