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World Asthma Day: Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai Worst Affected, says HEAL Survey

HEAL foundation’s efforts to address asthma in a photo collage (Courtesy HEAL Foundation)

With new India’s rush for modern infrastructure, the scope for pollution has hit the peak in cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore to cite a few and so is the effect n air pollution that is directly affecting the lungs of people.

Physicians have been cautioning the rise respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, skin diseases and skin allergies as a cascading effect of air pollution while Mumbai alone has recorded the highest numbers of such diseases in upcoming areas of Anheri, Kurla, Chembur, Bandra, Worli and Byculla.

The figures of Asthma and Bronchitis Association of India (ABAI) reiterate that the pulminary dieseases have increased at an alarming rate, with little care for precaution and early healthcare efforts.

Mumbai has recorded 600 new Asthma patients per annum and 55% of them were unaware of the asthma and tried other remedies before visiting the hospital. About 38% women and 7% children too fall victims to Asthma in Mumbai, according the the association.

Triggers of Asthma in Cities:

Animals such as dogs, pets and cows.
Cold weather especially sudden changes
Chemicals in the air
Chemicals in food
Respiratory ailments like common cold
Stress and overwork


Cough with or without phlegm;
Skin’s intercostal retraction of ribs when breathing
Breathlessness after exercise or activity


In a nationwide survey of lung health screening test (LHST) on 2000 children aged nine to 15 under the ‘Breathe Blue 2015’ campaign by the HEAL Foundation in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru in the last three months, showed adverse results in young children.

Nearly 13% of the children in cities are victims of asthma, attributed to poor air quality in India, according to the survey. In Delhi alone, 21% showed to be prone to asthma LHS Test, while the number is slightly higher in Bangalore due to pollen-caused asthma at 14% and 13% in Mumbai and 9% in Kolkata.

“Around 35 percent school going children in India suffer from poor lung health confirming the worst fears due to rising air pollution and deteriorating air quality,” Manjari Chandra of the foundation. Delhi is the worst affected with a total of 40% in the “poor” and “bad” zone in the test.

Bangalore children came next at 36 percent, while Kolkata ranked third at 35 percent and Mumbai lowest at 27 percent. Parthasarthi Bhattacharya, director of the Institute of Pulmocare and Research, said preliminary results point to the bad situation in India for children’s lung health.

Citing reports, he said lung capacity of Indians is 30 percent lower than that of Westerners. According to Anirban Maitra, a consultant pediatric pulmonologist, kids suffer more from lung disease in polluted areas.

“Air quality and pollution are not the only factors contributing to lung diseases in children. We need more data to figure out how much is the damage due to pollution,” he said.

HEAL advocacy campaign has unveiled future steps to be taken in the direction of curtailing the incidence of asthma:

Strategic analysis and planning for advocacy
 Building a base of scientific support for policy change
Organizing & Building broad and deep citizen alliances, informal networks of individual advocates
Lobbying, direct advocacy and meeting with and seeking to persuade government policy makers
Media advocacy to build popular understanding and support for tobacco control



(With inputs from IANS)

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