Improving patient behaviour and community awareness about asthma and COPD: role of health care workers in a rural setting of a LMIC – learnings from the field

05 Aug 2021
Respiratory conditions
  • Asthma
  • COPD
Type of resource
Dublin 2021
Biswajit Paul, University of Edinburgh, India
Clinical Research Results Implementation Science/Service Development Research Ideas on Respiratory Conditions and Tobacco Dependency Abstract Short TAPAS PresentationResearch Question Can the health care provider generate awareness and enough confidence in their local community to to make the population access health care for their respiratory problems? and/or be able to detect chronic respiratory diseases using a simple symptom-medication list? Background Most of the burden of mortality and morbidity from chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) like COPD and asthma are the in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) where population awareness about chronic respiratory diseases is low, the health systems are inadequately resourced or developed, accessibility is unreliable and government policies for chronic respiratory diseases are minimal or at nascent stage1,2,3,4,5.Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA) is a primary-secondary level hospital providing health services to a rural population of the K V Kuppam block (an administrative unit of the district) with low literacy levels and low socio-economic status. Health aides (health care workers) engage with the community and use various health education tools to create awareness about asthma and COPD, in terms of the disease, its symptoms, complications, the investigations required and the treatment available for it. They identified more than 200 patients with chronic respiratory symptoms based on a symptom-medication list, created awareness on accessibility to and significance of early treatment, regular check-up and review, taught them inhaler use and breathing exercises. They even assessed patients using TAI and SGRQ questionnaires. People have responded well and have come out in large numbers to attend the awareness sessions, have started asking questions related to the disease and the patients continue to use inhalers, do exercises and come for follow-up to the primary care centre. Declaration of Interest References and Clinical Trial Registry Information Bousquet J, Dahl R, Khaltaev N. Global alliance against chronic respiratory diseases. Eur. Respir. J. 2007;29:233–239. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00138606.Mortimer K, Cuevas L, Squire B, Thomson R, Tolhurst R. Improving access to effective care for people with chronic respiratory symptoms in low and middle income countries. BMC Proc. 2015 Dec 18;9(Suppl 10):S3. doi: 10.1186/1753-6561-9-S10-S3. PMID: 28281701; PMCID: Aikins A, Boynton P, Atanga LL: Developing effective chronic disease interventions in Africa: insights from Ghana and Cameroon. Globalization and Health 2010, 6:6. Rapportmondial sur le de ́ veloppement humain 1997 au service de l’e ́ radication de la pauvrete ́. Paris, Editions Economica, 1997 (available at N, Enarson D, Bous- quet J. Chronic respiratory diseases in developing countries: the burden and strategies for prevention and manage- ment. Bull WHO 2001;79:971–9.