The definition of a primary care facility is the site where the first patient contact occurs. In developing countries, primary healthcare (PHC) facilities are officially healthcare centers, hosting World Health Organization (WHO) programs for tuberculosis and chronic respiratory diseases. In addition, there are many other providers of PHC services, which include emergency departments, general outpatient clinics in public hospitals. Asthma patients may present for treatment in any of these primary care facilities. An international study achieved by the Union showed that 51% of asthma patients in Syria are treated in emergency departments only, many developing countries like Sudan, Algeria, and some African countries had the same use of ER. There are questions about the quality of care provided in these clinics with regard to their adherence to Global Initiatives for Asthma (GINA) guidelines. Evidence suggests that there may be over prescribing of oral corticosteroids and antibiotics and under-prescription of inhaled corticosteroids, so there is a need to improve practice bringing it more into alignment to international guidelines. It may be considered by many that it is not possible to follow guidelines in developing countries and those that have economic and political pressures. However, a pilot program to test the feasibility of a providing systematic follow-up of uncontrolled asthma patients in a general free of charge hospital in Syria showed that it is possible to achieve asthma control following to GINA guidelines even in very deprived community. The same was mentioned by the Union in an international survey for other developing African and Mediterranean countries. WHO launched programs for non-communicable disease including chronic respiratory disease: Practical Approach to lung Health (PAL) and Package of essential no communicable (PEN) disease interventions for primary health care in low-resource settings. The IPCRG also worked on how to improve implementation of guidelines. We will provide the results and following evidence-based recommendations from our field surveys in developing countries, as well comment on international programs. Although much progress has been realized in the diagnosis and management of asthma in developed nations, progress in one variant of asthma, inner city asthma, has been slow. Inner city asthma is that variant of the disease which afflicts residents of urban environments with low socioeconomic conditions, poor housing, and rampant environmental risks. This variant of asthma appears to be more severe, associated with increased psychological burden as well as morbidity and mortality, has a diverse array of predisposing factors, and poses significant challenges in management and treatment. One important aspect of treatment is education which leads to the participation of the patient and the families in the care resulting in a more favorable outcome.
Part of the book: Asthma