The World Health Organization recognizes Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRDs) as a severe non-communicable disease that affects 290 million people worldwide, accounting for approximately three million deaths a year.
Pakistan suffers from a high burden of Chronic Respiratory Disease. As of 2014, the mortality rate stands at 138.2/ 100,000 in males and 41/ 100,000 among females. Factors such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, occupational chemicals, and dust, among others, have played a significant part in leading to rising CRDs.
In 2018, the Indus Hospital & Health Network (IHHN) established its Lung Health Program to respond to the significant morbidity and mortality associated with chronic respiratory diseases in the country. The program’s objective is to provide high-quality services to prevent, diagnose, and manage lung diseases in Pakistan. It focuses explicitly on non-TB-associated respiratory disorders. Since its establishment, it has led critical projects that have helped make a difference to the health ecosystem in Pakistan.
IHHN runs three main projects under it. Voices Against Tobacco was launched in 2020-21 in association with the Tobacco-Free Kids campaign to emphasize youth empowerment and tobacco control; Obstructive Lung Disease provides specialist education and spirometry services for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases to primary care centers; and Pulmonary Rehabilitationoffers multidisciplinary treatment for breathless patients with chronic respiratory diseases.
In October 2021, the Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PuRe) Program enrolled its 100th patient, 62-year-old Samuel Jackson, who complained of breathlessness. Upon examination, he was diagnosed with acute Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). After three months of treatment which included chest and limb physiotherapy, mental health counseling, and COPD education he has been cured.
To mark this momentous milestone, the team at Pulmonary Rehabilitation held an event to celebrate the achievement. The event was attended by Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, CEO, IHHN, executive directors and other faculty members, where they were told about the program and its success so far.
“Patients show demonstrable improvements after completing PuRe. They not only experience reduced breathlessness but can also walk twice as far as before. For someone who is housebound, this makes a huge difference in quality of life,” said Dr. Saima Saeed, Director, Lung Health program.
The ceremony concluded with Dr. Abdul Bari and Dr. Amin Chinoy, Executive Director, Rehabilitation Directorate, presenting team members with certificates of appreciation.