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Taking action to address the everyday health impact of air pollution

The Breathe Better pledge seeks to raise awareness and provide advice for the prevention and management of the impacts of air pollution on health to help patients breathe better. Read the article here.

Taking action to address the everyday health impact of air pollution

More than 91% of the world’s population is living in places where the WHO air quality guidelines are not met1 and there is a clear link between air pollution and cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers.

Better everyday health must include better respiratory health, if we are to help prevent related chronic disease. However, with this being such a huge global issue, healthcare practitioners at the frontline of everyday healthcare, pharmacists and their teams, need support in tackling this.

A survey conducted by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), the first-ever air pollution survey, reinforced this, identifying a ‘number of barriers that must be overcome if the profession is to be able to practise to its full potential in this area, with lack of training being the first.’

 

Supporting pharmacists in pushing air pollution to the top of the agenda

Following this research, our scientific initiative The Clean Breathing Institute (TCBI) and FIP made a Call to Action to pharmacists to help address the growing concerns and minimize  the impact of air pollution on respiratory health.  Behind the Call to Action, the related report, The global threat of air pollution and its impact on patient care: supporting pharmacy practice and workforce development’, also makes recommendations for how pharmacists can be supported in helping to push air pollution to the top of the agenda, including guidance for education and training pathways and encouraging practitioners to make a commitment to raising awareness of air pollution, and act, to help patients breathe better: the Breathe Better pledge. 

PHARMACIST PLEDGE

I COMMIT TO:

  1. Advocate for air pollution reduction in my community.
  2. Raise awareness of the health risks of air pollution among patients, healthcare professionals, patient groups, and the public.
  3. Engage in services which identify and reduce risk factors and focus on related health education and screening campaigns.
  4. Undertake education and training on primary healthcare services provision to help mitigate the impact of air pollution on health.
  5. Provide supportive services for people suffering from respiratory conditions.
  6. Provide disease management and treatment optimization services for those already affected by air pollution, thereby improving health outcomes, disease control, overall respiratory health and well being.

Our commitment to achieve better respiratory health continues and we know this is echoed by the pharmacy community

“Community pharmacies are key to creating awareness and ensuring patients are getting practical advice to manage both the short and long-term effects of air pollution and respiratory health.” Lars-Åke Söderlund, President, Community Pharmacy Section, FIP2

Going forward, our initiative the TCBI and FIP will be focused on raising awareness of the health risks caused by air pollution and health interventions available to support better patient care among pharmacists, other healthcare professionals and patient groups, as well as the public.

Both organisations are committed to co-creating activities and events focused on professional pharmacy services, education and training for community pharmacists.  

References

1 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ambient-(outdoor)-air-quality-and-health

2 The global threat of air pollution and its impact on patient care: supporting pharmacy practice and workforce development, report. 2021.