Each year on 18 November, the public health community recognises and raises awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary (COPD) on World COPD Day. Ahead of this year’s event, the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Advocacy Council Chair, Professor Arzu Yorgancıoğlu, shared a message of hope and support for people with COPD:
“Though many people around the world suffer from COPD, we must not forget that it is a preventable and treatable disease and there are many things we can do to improve conditions for patients.
“For people who live with COPD quitting smoking is key, and pulmonary rehabilitation and pharmacological therapies can help to reduce the frequency and severity of COPD exacerbations, improve health status and exercise tolerance. Health professionals have an important role in educating patients on self-management, supporting smoking cessation treatment and using an integrated care approach.
“A promising and rapidly developing field that could improve lives for COPD patients is the whole area of digital health. Digital health has come to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual care platforms, using video conferencing and digital monitoring, have been used worldwide to deliver remote health care to patients as a means of reducing their exposure to the virus. We need to use the positive example of adapting to COVID-19 and actively explore how these digital health innovations can be expanded to significantly improve care in COPD.
“In these challenging times of COVID-19, it is especially important for people with COPD to follow basic infection control measures such as physical distancing, regular hand washing and wearing a mask or face covering. People with COPD should ensure to get the appropriate vaccinations to protect their health, particularly annual influenza vaccination, and should continue to use their medications as indicated for stable COPD management.
“On World COPD Day, we hope ERS members and supporters will join us in calling for better smoking cessation support in countries across Europe, cleaner indoor and outdoor air, accelerated research into the airways and for better and more accessible pulmonary rehabilitation services. ERS advocates year-round for these measures, but more people and organisations must also join in this advocacy, as together we can make a change.”
- Read the FIRS statement for World COPD Day: Living well with COPD – Everybody, everywhere