Budapest, 12-13 October 2016 – COPD is one the most common diseases in the world. According to WHO estimates, about 64 million people around the world live with COPD and by 2030 COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide.
By Zoltan Massay-Kosubek, Policy Co-ordinator for Healthy Trade and Health Equity and Catherine Hartmann, Secretary General of the European COPD Coalition. Photo: Koranyi Institute, Budapest. Photo credit: Koranyi Institute, Koranyi Bulletin.
A joint European COPD Coalition (ECC) – European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) delegation recently visited Hungary and met with representatives of the National Korányi Institute for Tuberculosis and Pulmonology, decision makers in the Ministry of Human Capacities responsible for health as well as Hungarian patient organisations to better understand the burden of COPD in Hungary and the national political framework to tackle chronic diseases. National examples are key to address the Non-Communicable Disease epidemic, where urgent, coordinated action is needed at European level.
The Korányi Insitute representatives provided an overview about the COPD burden in Hungary: in 2015, there were 183.800 registered COPD patients in Hungary (93.657 male and 90.143 female) in a population of 10 million. However, this could well be an under-estimate with the real number up to three times higher.
The healthcare team of the Koranyi Institute explained possible reasons for systematic underestimation of the number COPD sufferers and the challenges they face in COPD: mobilising patients for better advocacy, scare resources for improved technology and services, very little awareness about the disease, and the absence of a strategy to genuinely tackle COPD. Too few people are diagnosed compared to the most probable incidence of the disease, in particular among those who smoke.
Officials of the State Secretariat for Healthcare gave an overview of the policy framework to tackle chronic diseases in Hungary. They referred to the plan called ‘Egészséges Magyarország 2014-2020’ (Healthy Hungary 2014-2020) which is a strategic overview of healthy prevention and healthcare, inspired by the WHO Health 2020 objectives.
The rare form of (congenital) COPD, called Alpha 1 antitrypsine is addressed in Hungary in ‘The National Plan for Rare Diseases’ – healthcare policy strategy for rare diseases until 2020 and available at the Hungarian Federation of people with rare and congenital diseases (HURORDISZ) website (Hungarian version: RITKA BETEGSÉGEK NEMZETI TERVE a ritka betegségekre vonatkozó 2020-ig szóló, egészségügyi szakpolitikai stratégia).
As regards reimbursement of medicines for COPD treatment, the health insurance fund and the ministry follow financial protocols based on the scientific evidence about the efficacy of the medicines and smoker patients are not automatically excluded.
A cikk magyar nyelvű változata itt olvasható.
Next steps – World COPD day – 16th November 2016
ECC works with national stakeholders to identify best practices and lessons learned for COPD and will raise awareness about the disease at European level, in particular on the occasion of World COPD Day. The Hungarian Respiratory Society will mark World COPD day in Hungary with a 2-day conference on 18-19th November.
World COPD Day was first organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in 2002 to raise public awareness,. Since then World COPD Day is marked annually in November, with awareness raising events, such as free spirometry testing, meetings & conferences, reports, papers and coverage in the media.