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EFA and EPHA - World COPD Day

The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the European Federation of Allergies and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA) actively participated in World COPD Day on 18 November.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a non-communicable lung disease that progressively robs sufferers of breath. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, causing more than 3 million deaths every year.

World COPD Day is an annual event to raise awareness of COPD worldwide. This year’s theme, “It’s not too late,” emphasised the meaningful actions people can take at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis. It also focused on how actions society take can improve conditions for those living with COPD.

On World COPD Day, EFA launched an update of a popular booklet ‘Enabling Air Travel with Oxygen in Europe’. Many patients with COPD are advised by their physician to travel to places with temperate climates during wintertime, as it may ease their symptoms but travelling by air for this group of passengers can be challenging.

The new EFA publication shows the barriers that patients face when flying with medical oxygen and highlight the limitations in terms of information and medical service provision and EU legislation. Experiences of patients are included, documenting the challenges they encounter when dealing with often inconsistent and confusing policies and procedures.

EFA calls on policy-makers, airlines, and other stakeholders to take the steps recommended to remove these barriers. While improvements have been made since the booklet was first launched, more needs to be done to help patients in need of medical oxygen to travel freely. By raising awareness of these issues we hope to bring about change in the practices of airlines and airports.

EPHA was active on social media and highlighted that clean air is vital for COPD patients and calls for improved air quality laws.

Originally posted on 23 November 2015

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