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Asthma Health Outcomes Project

Overviews of Surveyed Asthma ProgramsSeptember 2005

International Programs: FinlandBack to Index

Asthma Programme in Finland 1994-2004

Finnish Lung Health Association, FIHLA

HUS Finland

Tari Haahtela, MD

358 9 47786302     


In 1993 the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland recognized asthma as an important public health issue by appointing a working group to design a national program for the prevention and alleviation of problems caused by asthma and for reduction of the relevant costs. The group decided to create an action program emphasizing guideline implementation and follow up, which are often neglected in consensus reports on asthma treatment. The 10-year program was launched in 1994.

A steering committee was formed to decide the strategic choices, set goals and measures, and agreed upon activities which were considered to have the best impact. The committee recommended a revision of asthma care in order to increase the role of primary health care. One solution was to train one general practitioner and one nurse in each municipal health center to work as coordinators of local activities and to take part in the counseling and follow up to patients. In 1997 a further step was taken to strengthen the local activities by including more than 600 Finnish pharmacies in the program. The steering committee recommended all pharmacies and health centers to contact each other in order to improve collaboration in the guidance and education of patients with asthma. The pharmacies were also recommended to nominate one of the pharmacists to act as an asthma contact person.

Participation in the program yielded improved hospitalization rates, work loss, medication use, and change in clinical action (health care provider behavior) as evidenced by change in medical treatment plans for patients with asthma. The program has also decreased health care costs and disability pensions for asthma.

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