International Respiratory Coalition launches Lung Facts advocacy resource at the ERS Congress

4 September, 2022

The International Respiratory Coalition (IRC) has launched a new web-based advocacy resource at the ERS International Congress in Barcelona. ‘Lung Facts’ presents key epidemiological and economic data for major respiratory conditions across World Health Organization (WHO) Europe, and by each WHO Europe country, and is intended to be used to demonstrate the urgent need for change in respiratory healthcare as well as provide a base to measure future progress.

The Lung Facts resource is the first of the planned IRC resources to be made available on the new official IRC website, and it supports both the central aims and vision of the IRC, which are to promote lung health and improve respiratory care, and for every country to have the tools to implement a national respiratory strategy based on best practice.

Lung Facts can be used by all stakeholders to help raise the profile of lung health following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on respiratory health across the globe. It is also a tool specifically for use by national-level groups affiliated with the IRC, to support them as they build a case for change in respiratory healthcare in their country and as they attempt to influence key decision makers to prioritise it.

Prof. Tobias Welte, Chair of the Lung Facts Steering Group remarked: “Lung Facts aims to provide the data that countries need to advocate for change. By understanding the burden and societal cost of lung conditions, governments can invest in respiratory healthcare with confidence that their actions will result in better lives for patients and economic benefits for all.”

The initial launch of Lung Facts includes data from the global burden of disease (GBD) for several disease areas including asthma, COPD, mesothelioma, lower respiratory tract infection, lung cancer, interstitial lung disease and tuberculosis. The data is easily accessible and presented in easy-to-use formats such as graphs and charts, which can be downloaded directly from the IRC’s official website. The data will now be maintained and kept up to date as a reliable ‘go to’ resource.

A second batch of data, which could not be sourced from the GBD, will be added in the coming months and will include alpha-1, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, influenza, pulmonary arterial hypertension and obstructive sleep apnoea. Similarly, country-specific sections will be further developed to best support active national-level groups as and when they join the IRC.

The importance of multi-stakeholder involvement at national level is a message that the IRC has reiterated many times, and current focus is on helping an initial cohort of national-level groups to grow. Professor Guy Joos, Chair of the IRC Operational Committee notes that wide involvement is essential for the success of the IRC initiative.

“No one group of people can bring about the level of change required to impact respiratory healthcare to the degree that it is needed. It is time for us to collaborate across sectors towards a shared goal of improving outcomes for people with respiratory disease.”