FRESH AIR: Horizon 2020

Our aim

The overall aim of the FRESH AIR consortium and this project is to improve health outcomes for people at risk of or suffering from non-communicable lung diseases in low-resource settings.

The project will achieve this through seven specific objectives:

1. To identify the specific factors that influence the implementation of evidenced-based interventions in the prevention and treatment of non-communicable lung diseases in community settings in four countries representing very different contexts: the Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam, Uganda and Greece. (WP3)

2. To explore which awareness-raising approaches are most effective in motivating behaviour change in tobacco consumption and household air pollution (HAP) exposure and to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of HAP reduction interventions in selected communities in these countries. (WP4)

3. To provide access to smoking cessation support by adapting successful evidence-based Very Brief Advice (VBA) interventions that will be delivered by healthcare workers in these countries. (WP5)

4. To test the feasibility and acceptability of methods for diagnosing COPD using innovative spirometry. (WP5)

5. To test the feasibility and acceptability of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) as a low-cost treatment for obstructive lung disease. (WP5)

6. To test how to best reduce children’s respiratory symptoms and the risk of lung damage by exploring interventions designed to raise awareness of the damaging effects of exposure to tobacco smoke and HAP during pregnancy and infancy and to improve diagnosis and treatment of children aged under five presenting to primary care with respiratory symptoms. (WP6)

7. To generate new knowledge, innovation and scalable models that ensure equitable access and to support their implementation through proactive dissemination within the four countries, regionally and internationally. (WP3 to WP7)

The 5 steps leaflet: a patient guide to managing their COPD developed in the FRESH AIR programme

The FRESH AIR project has shown that people with COPD have difficulty accessing good advice about their condition, its causes and steps they can take to improve their health. 

Local cultural contexts have been explored, and has highlighted the need for patient education in Vietnam, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan and Greece. There were significant gaps in patients’ knowledge on inhalation technique, adherence, breathing exercises and diet. Many healthcare workers lacked knowledge of COPD and could not teach patients. As effective drug treatment is often unavailable/inaccessible, patient education and self-management is fundamental and often the only way patients can improve their health.

To meet every patient’s right to be informed about their disease and how to manage it, we aimed to produce a simple, clear booklet describing the steps people with COPD may take to improve their health.

The booklet has been produced with input from teams in Uganda and Vietnam and FRESH AIR collaborators in the first instance; versions for other countries are planned. 

The booklet is being used in pulmonary rehabilitation in Vietnam and in clinics in Uganda and will be modified by patient feedback. We plan for wide patient use of the booklet with support from the European Lung Foundation and the IPCRG. 

The 5 steps leaflet enables every patient diagnosed with COPD to access simple clear messages to support self-help.