OBJECTIVE: To assess the implementation of standard case management of asthma in Huaiyuan County, Anhui Province, China, in 2008.
DESIGN: The study project began with the local adaptation of international asthma guidelines, followed by a situation analysis, pre-intervention study, training and intervention. Inhaled beclomethasone (US$15 for a 200-puff [250 µg/puff] inhaler) was prescribed for patients with persistent asthma. Treatment outcome was assessed at 1 year after enrolment.
RESULTS: Asthma was never diagnosed in the participating facilities before the project was introduced. Of the 95 patients diagnosed with persistent asthma, 72 (75.8%) were prescribed inhaled beclomethasone, and 23 (24.2%) were not, because they either refused to use inhaled beclomethasone or did not return after the initial visit. At 1 year evaluation, of the 72 patients with persistent asthma treated with inhaled corticosteroids, 12 (16.7%) improved, 7 (9.7%) remained stable, none were worse, 1 (1.4%) had died, and 52 (72.2%) were lost to follow-up. Of the 52 patients lost to follow-up, 25 (48%) were found to be alive but had stopped using inhaled beclomethasone.
CONCLUSION: Asthma is more frequently disabling and costly than had been recognised earlier. Asthma patients can be provided the care that they require, but affordable access to inhaled corticosteroids remains a challenge.
- Journal Article