The right to breathe: how policymakers can tackle severe asthma

Asthma impacts over 330 million people worldwide. While severe asthma makes up only 5-10 percent of cases, it is accountable for over half of asthma-related costs globally.[1] It profoundly affects patients’ lives, undermining their physical, mental and economic well-being, and increasing the risk of preventable deaths. Despite its significance, severe asthma is often overshadowed by other health priorities, leading to inadequate resource allocation and substandard care, further straining already pressured health systems.

Severe asthma outcomes, like many other chronic diseases, are deeply entangled with a wide range of environmental and socio-economic factors. Therefore, addressing it is not merely about medical intervention, but about creating and implementing comprehensive, holistic strategies.

The challenges presented by severe asthma are not beyond our capabilities. Around the globe, there is a wide range of best practices, treatments, and approaches to asthma management. Yet, the path to transformation demands a unified commitment from a broad set of stakeholders, from policymakers to medical professionals, industry, patients and beyond. While the blueprint for a future unburdened by severe asthma exists, it is up to decision-makers to realize it together.

While the blueprint for a future unburdened by severe asthma exists, it is up to decision-makers to realize it together.

And the good news is that progress is already underway. Since autumn 2022, we have collaborated as an international expert group to support the development of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies’ (CIFS) Severe Asthma Index. This tool assesses how 29 OECD countries manage severe asthma across various indicators, such as national strategies, treatment access, hospitalizations, societal costs and air quality, among others.

While the Severe Asthma Index is an important stride in tackling severe asthma, the true test lies in how its insights are applied in practice. Among the many actions needed to be taken to improve severe asthma care, the most pressing concern is policy change.

We have identified three actions, derived from the work we have conducted to date, for policymakers to kickstart strengthening health systems’ approaches to and management of severe asthma:

  1. Development and implementation of national asthma plans and strategies

The Severe Asthma Index has found that less than half of the countries analyzed have a national strategy for asthma, prevention, and management. There is, therefore, a need to formulate and actively implement dedicated national asthma programs, tailored to the unique challenges of individual health systems. These programs should not only emphasize prevention, early detection and diagnosis but also adapt best practices to specific national and local contexts.

Importantly, plans should be situated in the context of long-term strategies for improving population health outcomes.

“In England, work around respiratory illness is gaining traction,” notes Sir David Behan, chair of Health Education England, NHS, and expert group member. “Part of the initiative being developed [is] to ease pressure on the emergency care pathways and hospitals.”  

All approaches should promote awareness on respiratory diseases, support personalized care plans, empower patients and improve training and opportunities for training health care professionals working in respiratory care.

2. Coordination and harmonization of policies and care guidelines

There is a patchwork of country approaches to severe asthma, illustrated by the observation that more than two-thirds of the country guidelines assessed in the Severe Asthma Index do not fully align with the Global Initiative for Asthma’s (GINA) guide for Difficult-to-treat and Severe Asthma in Adolescence And Adult Patients. Policymakers must strive to coordinate their approaches to severe asthma by harmonizing policies and guidelines for asthma care to the greatest possible extent, with the aim of reducing outcome disparities, bolstering equity and promoting health system sustainability.

In doing so, there should be an emphasis on identifying and scaling best practices, promoting cross-border collaboration, and championing holistic solutions informed by the widely-acclaimed Health in All Policies approach.

The Australian National Asthma Council’s Australian Asthma Handbook is a strong example of a best practice in this area that policymakers could draw inspiration from in acting on this point.

3. Supporting improved data collection and the development of a more robust evidence base for severe asthma

Policymakers should incentivize and ultimately mandate improved production, recording and utilization of asthma- and severe asthma-specific data, as well as identifier data such as prescription data, adherence to treatment regimes, lung function analysis and demographic and socioeconomic indicators, following a set of common standards.

Currently, despite the existence of clinical codes for severe asthma, the condition remains significantly underreported in clinical settings due in large part to inconsistent coding practices, leading to an increased probability of patients receiving inadequate care and suboptimal allocation of health system resources. The dearth of severe asthma data and barriers to accessing the few datasets that do exist render it difficult to develop a comprehensive and consistent understanding of the full impact of severe asthma.

National policymakers need to prioritize financial and logistical support for country-level asthma research. Research activities should aim to produce a solid evidence base that will offer a nuanced understanding of each country’s needs, challenges and opportunities regarding asthma care. Support for research activities granted over the long term will enable longitudinal studies so that national trends and progress can be accurately tracked.

Only 3 percent of the European Union’s budget for health [is] spent on lung health, although 13 percent of Europeans have lung disease.

“Only 3 percent of the European Union’s budget for health [is] spent on lung health, although 13 percent of Europeans have lung disease,” says Susanna Palkonen, director of the European Federation of Allergy & Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) and expert group member.

The International Severe Asthma Registry (ISAR) initiative provides a strong basis for continued work in this area.

The path ahead requires that these actions evolve in tandem with the latest advancements in respiratory care and approaches to the management and prevention of noncommunicable diseases. This is not simply about updating and developing new policies — it’s about crafting robust and well-rounded solutions that proactively address a health challenge that is both global and local and supporting a much-needed vision for improved respiratory health outcomes.

As we look forward, we cannot just treat asthma. We must transform our approach to ensure that every patient’s right to breathe becomes a global reality.

Patrick Henry Gallen, senior advisor and futurist at Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

Bogi Eliasen, director of health at Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

Professor Dr. Vibeke Backer, MD, DMSci, chief respiratory physician at Department of ENT and Centre for Physical Activity Research (CFAS), Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark

Sir David Behan, chair Health Education England, National Health System (NHS), U.K.​

Dr. Mark Levy, board member, Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), U.K.​

Mikaela Odemyr, chair European Lung Foundation (ELF) Patient Advisory Committee; chair Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association, Sweden

Susanna Palkonen, director, European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA)  

Professor Dr. Arzu Yorgancıoğlu, chair European Respiratory Society (ERS) Advocacy Council; member of Global Initiative on Asthma (GINA) Board; chair of GINA Dissemination and Implementation Committee; chair of the WHO GARD Executive Committee Turkey 

[1] Al Efraij K, FitzGerald JM. Current and emerging treatments for severe asthma. J Thorac Dis 2015;7(11):E522-E525

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Making water the engine for climate action

Much progress has been made on water security over recent decades, yet for the first time in human history, our collective actions have pushed the global water cycle out of balance. Water is life: it is essential for health, food, energy, socioeconomic development, nature and livable cities. It is hardly surprising that the climate and biodiversity crises are also a water crisis, where one reinforces the other. Already, a staggering four billion people suffer from water scarcity  for at least one month a year and two billion people lack access to safely-managed drinking water. By 2030, global water demand will exceed availability by 40 percent. By 2050, climate-driven water scarcity could impact the economic growth of some regions by up to 6 percent of their Gross Domestic Product per year.

Meike van Ginneken, Water Envoy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Right now, the world’s first Global Stocktake is assessing the progress being made toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and global leaders are convening at COP28 in Dubai to agree on a way forward. We have a critical opportunity to catalyze global ambition and recognize that water is how climate change manifests itself. While wealthier, more resilient nations may be able to manage the devastating impacts of climate change, these same challenges are disastrous for lesser developed, more vulnerable communities.

Rainfall, the source of all freshwater, is becoming more erratic. Changes in precipitation, evaporation and soil moisture are creating severe food insecurity. Droughts trap farmers in poverty, as the majority of cultivated land is rain-fed. Extreme drought reduces growth in developing countries by about 0.85 percentage points. Melting glaciers, sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion jeopardize freshwater supplies. Floods destroy infrastructure, damage homes and disrupt livelihoods. The 2022 Pakistan floods affected 33 million people and more than 1,730 lost their lives, while 2023 saw devastating floods in Libya among other places.  

Now more than ever, it is urgent that we work together to make water the engine of climate action. Already, many countries are investing in technology and climate-resilient water infrastructure. Yet, we need more than technology and engineering to adapt to a changing climate. To advance global water action, we must radically change the way we understand, value and manage water with an emphasis on two necessary measures.

First, we need to make water availability central to our economic planning and decision-making. We need to rethink where and how we grow our food, where we build our cities, and where we plan our industries. We cannot continue to grow thirsty crops in drylands or drain wetlands and cut down forests to raise our cattle. In a changing climate, water availability needs to guide where we undertake economic activity.

In a changing climate, water availability needs to guide where we undertake economic activity.  

Second, we must restore and protect natural freshwater stocks, our buffers against extreme climate events. Natural freshwater storage is how we save water for dry periods and freshwater storage capacity is how we store rainwater to mitigate floods. 99 percent of freshwater storage is in nature. We need to halt the decline of groundwater, wetlands and floodplains. But our challenge is not only about surface and groundwater bodies, or blue water. We also need to preserve and restore our green water stocks, or the water that remains in the soil after rainfall. To reduce the decline of blue water and preserve green water, we need to implement water-friendly crop-management practices and incorporate key stakeholders, such as farmers, into the decision-making process.

Addressing the urgency of the global water crisis goes beyond the water sector. It requires transformative changes at every level of society. National climate plans such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans are key instruments to make water an organizing principle to spatial, economic and investment planning. Much like the Netherlands did earlier this year when the Dutch parliament adopted a policy that makes water and soil guiding principles in all our spatial planning decisions. Right now, about 90 percent of all countries’ NDCs prioritize action on water for adaptation. NDCs and National Adaptation Plans are drivers of integrated planning and have the potential to unlock vast investments, yet including targets for water is only a first step.

To drive global action, the Netherlands and the Republic of Tajikistan co-hosted the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, bringing the world together for a bold Water Action Agenda to accelerate change across sectors and deliver on the water actions in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement. To elevate the agenda’s emphasis on accelerating implementation and improved impact, the Netherlands is contributing an additional €5 million to the NDC Partnership to support countries to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce water-related climate vulnerability and increase public and private investments targeting water-nexus opportunities. As a global coalition of over 200 countries and international institutions, the NDC Partnership is uniquely positioned to support countries to enhance the integration of water in formulating, updating, financing and implementing countries’ NDCs.

One example showcasing the importance of incorporating water management into national planning comes from former NDC Partnership co-chair and climate leader, Jamaica. Jamaica’s National Water Commission (NWC), one of the largest electricity consumers in the country, mobilized technical assistance to develop an integrated energy efficiency and renewables program to reduce its energy intensity, building up the resilience of the network, while helping reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. With additional support from the Netherlands, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), together with Global Water Partnership (GWP)-Caribbean, the government of Jamaica will ensure the National Water Commission is well equipped for the future. Implementation of climate commitments and the requisite financing to do so are key to ensuring targets like these are met.

Water has the power to connect. The Netherlands is reaching out to the world.

Water has the power to connect. The Netherlands is reaching out to the world. We are committed to providing political leadership and deploying our know-how for a more water-secure world. As we look towards the outcomes of the Global Stocktake and COP28, it is essential that we make water the engine of climate action. 

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Film Heritage Foundation announces Dev Anand Film Festival; CID, Guide & more to screen across 30 Indian cities : Bollywood News – Bollywood Hungama

Ahead of the 100th birth anniversary of Dev Anand which falls on the 26th of September, the Film Heritage Foundation announces a unique festival titled ‘Dev Anand@100 – Forever Young; that pays tribute to the timeless entertainment icon. The two-day weekend celebrations held jointly in association with NFDC-NFAI (National Film Development Corporation Of India- National Film Archive Of India) and PVR Inox will be conducted on the 23rd and 24th of September across 30 cities and 55 cinema halls all over India.

Film Heritage Foundation announces Dev Anand Film Festival; CID, Guide & more to screen across 30 Indian cities

The not-for-profit organization founded by filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur has meticulously curated a tailored collection of films where audiences can spend the weekend with Dev Anand in his different memorable avatars as the romantic hero, the dashing spy and the fun-loving rogue.

Audiences in Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, Lucknow, Kolkata, Guwahati, Indore, Jaipur, Nagpur, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Gwalior, Rourkela, Raipur, Noida, Kochi, Aurangabad, Vadodara, Surat, Mohali amongst other cities will get an unmissable opportunity to watch these landmark films of the suave leading man restored by NFCDC-NFAI on the big screen: C. I. D. (1956), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967) and Johny Mera Naam (1970).

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Filmmaker and Director, of the Film Heritage Foundation states, “After a successful run with ‘Bachchan Back To The Beginning’ and ‘Dilip Kumar – Hero Of Heroes’ to commemorate Amitabh Bachchan’s 80th birthday and Dilip Kumar’s birth centenary respectively, we knew that there was no way that we could allow the birth centenary of Dev Anand to go uncelebrated. We wanted to honour his legacy by screening four of his milestone films. The films are among my favourites as I consider Goldie Anand one of the most stylish directors of Indian cinema. The festival also marks an important collaboration between the Film Heritage Foundation and NFDC-NFAI who have restored the four films and partnered with us to enable us to showcase these films. The Gregory Peck of India, as Dev Anand was often called, continues to be a beloved star, and we are thrilled that contemporary audiences will have the opportunity to watch some of the films that made him an enduring legend of Indian cinema. This is another milestone in the Film Heritage Foundation’s journey to bring classics of Indian cinema to modern viewers because after all these films are a part of our history and culture and if we don’t know where we came from, we won’t know where we are going.”

Suneil Anand states, “I’m pleased to hear that the Film Heritage Foundation is planning a film festival, on a large scale across India, to commemorate my father, the legendary Dev Anand’s 100th birthday. I am aware of the work they do, and I would like to congratulate them on their endeavour. I personally like my dad’s work, as the leading man, in Johny Mera Naam. I think this is because the character he played closely resembled his true personality. It was an ideal vehicle for him to showcase his histrionics, mannerisms, and his suave dressing sense. Jewel Thief was another such film with the trappings and the look of slick Western and European Cinema. Dad set fashion trends in many of his films – with his cap, high collars, scarves, jackets, and colourful attire. Even his hairstyles were being copied by his fans. Dad could have easily gone to Hollywood. In fact, an established Hollywood casting agency had even offered to represent him and had lined up several projects for him. But being a true Indian at heart, he decided to remain in his Motherland India. Time marches on, mindsets change, and trends evolve, however, with each new generation of moviegoers and aficionados, Dev Anand continues to remain an inspiration to the youth of India and the rest of the World. He was unanimously given – and continues to hold – the title of an evergreen romantic superstar. Not one to rest on his laurels, Dad continued to make exciting movies under his Navketan banner. As we celebrate Dad’s centennial, I’d like to say that Dad’s movies were decades ahead of their time. I sometimes feel we still haven’t caught up with them. I am sure the festival will be a big success and that contemporary audiences will rediscover the youthful magic of my Father – who will stay forever young on the silver screen. In the continuing legacy of Dev Anand and Navketan, I am currently making a Hollywood-based film, dedicated to my dad, called Vagator Mixer which will be released shortly worldwide. The show goes on.”

This also marks the very first time a government body has collaborated with a not-for-profit organization for a film festival of such scale. To showcase the appeal of Dev Anand to a new generation and rekindle the nostalgia of those enthusiasts who have cherished his work, NFDC-NFAI embarked on an arduous journey of restoring the four classics of the charismatic actor in 4K resolution. The restoration of the films was undertaken as part of the National Film Heritage Mission and funded by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Prithul Kumar, Joint Secretary (Films) and Managing Director, NFDC states, “It is important for the public to witness Dev Anand on the big screen once again, and in a manner how he was viewed during his heydays decades ago. NFDC-NFAI is sparing no efforts to ensure these films are presented in the best way possible, as hundreds of restoration artists, technicians, graders, DOPs, sound engineers and archivists, spread across multiple cities, are hard at work to once again bring these films to life. Showcasing the restoration of Dev Anand’s films on the occasion of his centenary, as a joint endeavour between both film archives, NFDC-National Film Archive of India and Film Heritage Foundation, along with our esteemed partners, INOX and PVR, is a testament to our shared commitment to preserving India’s cinematic heritage. We aspire to sustain these collaborative efforts, to provide broader public access to the gems of Indian Cinema, in the quality they are meant to be seen.”

Also Read: Karan Johar remembers father Yash Johar dealing with issues during the making of Dostana on latter’s birth anniversary


Catch us for latest Bollywood News, New Bollywood Movies update, Box office collection, New Movies Release , Bollywood News Hindi, Entertainment News, Bollywood Live News Today & Upcoming Movies 2023 and stay updated with latest hindi movies only on Bollywood Hungama.

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Helping consumers snack mindfully

Can Buharali, senior director global public affairs at Mondelēz International

Every day, people seeking a healthier lifestyle can encounter different recommendations about what foods and beverages they should have or avoid. However, little guidance may be seen on why and how to eat or drink to get the most out of the eating experience. One approach is shifting the thinking from the what, to the why and how — this approach is called mindful eating.

Rimi Obra-Ratwatte, European lead nutrition strategy at Mondelēz International

As one of the largest snacking companies in the world, we at Mondelēz International embrace the important role we have to play in empowering consumers to snack more mindfully. This is integral to our purpose of ‘helping people to snack right’. 

Snacking is part of everyday living. It can provide fuel for energy or a boost to jump-start your day. It can also simply be a treat. People are looking for snacks that fit their busy lifestyles. They want convenient and delicious snacks they feel good about eating, while also seeking balance when making their snack choices.

Our own extensive consumer data shows that 74 percent of consumers want snacking tips and visual indicators of portion size on pack. Indeed, we believe consumer information needs to be meaningful, actionable, consistent across markets and provide clear portion guidance at the point of purchase and consumption.

Our own extensive consumer data shows that 74 percent of consumers want snacking tips and visual indicators of portion size on pack.

So, what does mindful snacking really mean? 

Over the past eight years we’ve worked with mindful eating experts to develop and validate our global Mindful Snacking program. 

Mindful Snacking is the application of mindfulness to eating and can be practised by anyone, anywhere and by all ages. It can help people to manage their relationship with all food and to do so in moderation.

It is about paying attention to why you want to eat before you choose what to eat.

It is about paying attention to why you want to eat before you choose what to eat. Are you hungry? Are you simply bored, distracted or seeking a break from what you are doing?  

Thinking through your reasons can help you to be more deliberate about what you eat and more conscious about the reason why you want a snack. And it’s also about how you snack, taking your time to taste the flavors and textures, leaving distractions aside, and slowing the pace of eating so that you really enjoy what you’re eating and know when you’re full or satisfied. Tasting the subtlety of the flavors for example in chocolate will allow you to get the most satisfaction out of even a small portion.

It’s also about how you snack, taking your time to taste the flavors and textures, leaving distractions aside.

Moreover, mindful snacking has been shown to lead to a more positive relationship with food (1) by making more deliberate and conscious food choices, more satisfaction and pleasure from food by savoring with all your senses (2) and being less likely to overeat (3) by paying attention to feelings of satisfaction. 

In fact in some countries such as Germany, Australia and Brazil practices regarding mindful eating are included in national dietary guidelines — that by eating slowly and consciously, there is a greater enjoyment and promotion of the sense of satiation.  

Tasting the subtlety of the flavors for example in chocolate will allow you to get the most satisfaction out of even a small portion.

This approach is also supported by the British Nutrition Foundation, which emphasizes that healthy eating is not only about what we eat, but also how we eat it. Time of day, speed, portion size, our emotional state and the food environment may all influence our relationship with food and healthy eating.

via Mondelēz

Mind your portion?

Scientific research shows that eating mindfully leads to better management of food portions and less tendency to overeat by paying attention to feelings of hunger and satiety (4).  It is about being intentional when choosing a portion according to the emotional and hunger needs in the moment.

Providing visual indicators of portion sizes on packaging can help consumers, especially for products like snacks. Snacks are often consumed in much smaller amounts than per 100g, which is what many food labelling regulations are based on,  so portion size indicators can be used to help educate and guide consumers on appropriate servings. Portion control packaging formats can also be helpful, as individually packaged portions can help support more mindful eating and control calorie consumption.

Providing visual indicators of portion sizes on packaging can help consumers, especially for products like snacks.

What is Mondelēz International doing on mindful snacking?  

At Mondelēz International, we want to educate consumers about how to snack mindfully and inspire satisfying snacking experiences. Satisfying portion sizes and detailed labeling help consumers understand that snacks like chocolate can fit into balanced and mindful lifestyles.

We’re helping people to snack mindfully in many ways.

via Mondelēz
via Mondelēz

We aim to add information on pack across all of our European brands by 2025 and our Snack Mindfully website provides resources, tips and information on mindful snacking. This will empower our consumers by making them more aware of portion sizes through visual images of a portion along with the calories it provides, alongside tips on how to snack mindfully. We have also partnered with renowned mindful eating experts to provide consumer-friendly videos that explain mindful snacking and how to practice it, which are also available on the website. 

And in the U.K., we have piloted QR codes on pack, to provide consumers with further information.  By scanning the QR code on the outer packaging, consumers can access our new online platform which provides information about the company’s global Snacking Made Right programs, including its cocoa sourcing program Cocoa Life, tips on mindful snacking and recycling information. 

How to practice mindful snacking?  

Mindful Snacking is based on six, practical and accessible behaviors that anyone can practice, anytime and anywhere. Taking these behaviors and bringing them to life in the right occasion through our brands is what makes it authentic and real with consumers. Learn more on our website and find out how to practice mindful snacking.   

(1) Alberts et al., 2012; Katterman et al., 2014; Hendrickson et al., 2017; Camillieri et al., 2015; Gravel et al., 2014 

(2) Hong et al., 2014; Arch et al., 2016; Cornil & Chandon, 2015; Hetherington et al., 2018 

(3) Oldham-Cooper et al., 2011; Higgs et al., 2011; Mittal et al., 2011; Robinson et al., 2014; Daubenmier et al., 2016 

(4) Gravel et al., 2014; Hong et al., 2014; Arch et al., 2016; Cornil & Chandon, 2015; Oldham-Cooper et al., 2011; Higgs, 2015; Mittal et al., 2011; Higgs et al., 2011, Robinson et al., 2014

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