Chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Finnish Action Programme, interim report.

Respir Med. 2007 Jul;101(7):1419-25.
Pietinalho A, Kinnula VL, Sovijärvi AR, Vilkman S, Säynäjäkangas O, Liippo K, Kontula E, Laitinen LA.
Filha (Finnish Lung Health Association), Sibeliuksenkatu 11 A 1, FI-00250 Helsinki, Finland.

The Finnish National Prevention and Treatment Programme for Chronic Bronchitis and COPD, launched in 1998, has, to date, been running for 6 years (2003). The goals of this action programme were to reduce the incidence of COPD and the number of moderate and severe cases of the disease, and to reduce both the number of days of hospitalisation and treatment costs.

A prevalent implementation of over 250 information and training events started. Health centres and pharmacies appointed a person in charge of COPD patients. In order to improve the cooperation between primary and specialised care, two thirds of hospital districts created local COPD treatment chains. The early diagnosis of COPD by spirometric examination was activated during the programme. Number of health centres with available spirometric services increased to 95%.

Before the start of the programme, approximately 5-9% of the adult population had COPD. During the whole programme, the proportion of male and female smokers decreased from 30% to 26% and from 20% to 19%, respectively. The total number of hospitalisation periods and days due to COPD decreased by 15% and 18%, respectively. Both the number of pensioners and daily sickness days due to COPD also decreased by 18%. Registered COPD induced deaths remained at their previous levels during the monitoring period, i.e. around 1000 deaths out of 5.2 millions annually.

The measures recommended by the programme have been widely introduced but they need to be still more effective.




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