In most cases, the best form of treatment for an incurable condition, such as asthma, is being properly informed about it. That way, you are armed with a smart set of tools to manage your condition and keep your lifestyle mostly uninterrupted and stay focused on your passion. Once again, Finnish education shines a light in the dark! A beacon for the world to take notice and follow the best example of how to create a culture of guided self-management, that dramatically improves the lives of those in need.
Asthma education programme
The National Asthma Programme was in operation from 1994 to 2004. During which time, almost every pharmacy became part of a network and their pharmacists received ongoing training. Also, the Childhood Asthma mini-Programme launched in 2002. Although asthma is becoming more common, better general knowledge about the condition has lessened the effect on sufferers everyday life.
The proof is in the numbers
The number of hospital days was reduced by a staggering 59,000 over a ten year period. This occurred despite the increase in those diagnosed with the condition increasing by over 72,000. Due to the improved health of Asthma patients, significantly less (5471) needed to take disability pension and were able to work normally. The overall cost of asthma to Finland each year was reduced by ~4.5 million euros or ~600€ per asthmatic. Proof that knowledge is power!
Who do we thank for this?
Implemented by the Finnish Lung Health Association (Filha), this programme of early diagnosis and active treatment incurred minimal cost to society (less than €800k). The core of it has been the creation of asthma coordinators (one physician and one or more nurses) for each health center. This has resulted in, as of 2016, over 200 physicians and almost 600 nurses equipped with the necessary education. These asthma coordinators can best assist asthmatics in coping with symptoms and enjoying their life more than ever.
Spread the knowledge
The Allergy and Asthma Federation and the Pulmonary Association (HELI) have distributed free educational media (booklets, videos, and CDs) on asthma and irritants, such as the impact of smoking. In addition to this, they have also provided counseling to patients directly.
A breath of fresh educational air
As of 1994, smoking in the workplace became a thing of the past. The ban resulted in a steep drop, 50% in fact, in the number of employees endangered by environmental smoke during the workday. You can put those 3 minutes to better use by reading a good article anyway!
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