KAPTLD’s BreathEasy Asthma Care Program
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inhalers 

Background

Asthma is the commonest chronic lung disease in the world. It is estimated that over 300 million people suffer from this disease globally. In Kenya asthma is estimated to affect about 4 million people.

Although asthma cannot be cured, effective treatment is able to fully control it so that individuals are able to live normal productive lives. To control asthma clinical service providers must diagnose the disease rapidly and place patients on effective controller therapies.

World over there are two major problems with asthma care:  under diagnosis and under treatment leading to prolonged illness, poor quality of life , socio – economic consequences to the individual, the family and society at large and in some instances  death. Poorly controlled asthma is expensive. Appropriate treatment for asthma is highly cost effective. The impact of poorly controlled asthma is disproportionately high on the poor.

KAPTLD runs  a  national  public  health  program  on  asthma  care  and  control dubbed ‘The BreathEasy Initiative. The initiative aims at improving access to quality assured asthma care with a special focus on people from the lower socio – economic strata such as those who live in urban slums. The initiative is intended to ensure that

  1. Asthma patients  are prescribed the most effective asthma  medicines (inhaled steroids) by the providers they seek care from
  2. Asthma patients  are trained and supported  to  use inhaled medicines
  3. Asthma patients  pay the most competitive prices for the most  effective  medicines
  4. Asthma  patients  are  recorded  in a reportable  format to  allow  for tracking  of  the disease managed by the health service   and the assessment  of treatment outcomes in relation to the treatment these patients receive.

The program components

To achieve the above KAPTLD works with relevant stakeholders to

  • Establish sustainable training programmes for all cadres of  health care workers including community health care workers
  • Create awareness  about asthma to enable effective actions to be taken by all  persons  at all levels
  • Provide appropriate diagnostic equipment and accessories at all levels of the health care system
  • Establish asthma model clinics for  learning/training on asthma and to generate scientific information to guide policy and practice  development
  • Provide commodities including drugs at the most cost effective  prices at all levels of the health care system
  • Establish an asthma surveillance system to allow for the monitoring of  the burden of asthma, and  the responses to standardized  asthma care approaches

Current status of the program

KAPTLD recently restructured the national asthma public health program and branded it the Breatheasy initiative. The initial phase of this program involves the following key players: 1) the Kenya Association of Prevention of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (KAPTLD) that provides overall coordinating role of the project; 2) pharmaceutical company(s) that supply inhaled asthma medications for asthma patients; 3) Phillips Healthcare Services Limited whose role is storing and distributing  asthma drugs to duly registered  and licensed drug outlets; 4) Pharmaceutical outlets that act as pharmaceutical hubs (within health care facilities or stand alone pharmacies/chemists)  serving a specific geographical  region  to provide the medicines  to end users; 5) Clinical care providers who are duly registered and licensed to provide clinical services, and 6) NTLD-Unit which has the overall legal and constitutional responsibility for TB, asthma and other Lung disease control in Kenya.

breatheasy

Who gets involved?

  • Every individual, organization and any institution with a passion respiratory health
  • Every health institution where significant numbers of patients with respiratory illnesses are seen
  • Health institution willing to establish asthma clinics and keep records of all asthma patients managed in the institution and their treatment outcomes
 

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