#CulturePH - Celebrating National Lung Month by breathing hope against lung diseases

Leading figures in the Philippine healthcare sector have teamed up to raise awareness of various lung illnesses in the public during National Lung Month in August. The Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations, Psoriasis Philippines, Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders, Scleroderma Awareness Philippines, and Philippine College of Chest Physicians organized the "Lungs Matter: Raising Awareness for Respiratory Wellness" event with the assistance of the pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc. 

(From L-R) Ms. Jing Castañeda, host, broadcaster and journalist, Dr. JB Pimentel, Medical Advisor, BIPHI, Dr. Mae Campomanes, Chair on ILD Council, PCCP, Clare Burrows, General Manager and Head of Human Pharma, BIPHI, Marimel S. Lamsin, Treasurer, PAPO, and Dr. Janeth Samson, VP, PCCP.

At the event, which was held at the Bayleaf Hotel in Manila's Intramuros neighborhood, renowned medical professionals offered their enlightening knowledge of common and uncommon respiratory illnesses as well as the fundamentals of lung care. 

“This National Lung Month is a good opportunity for us to focus the public’s attention on respiratory wellness, spread more awareness on the different kinds of lung disease, and call on a collective movement to support healthier air,” said Dr. Mae Campomanes, Chair for the Council on Occupational and Interstitial Lung Diseases, PCCP. 

The “Lungs Matter: Raising Awareness for Respiratory Wellness” event took guests on various forum talks, pocket activities, and wellness exercises, such as Breathwork Practices and Shibashi — an 18-posture exercise that coordinates movement with breathing and concentration. It was then followed by a meditational walk in the historic Arroceros Forest Park. Known as "Manila's last lung", the Arroceros Forest Park was a catalyst for better and healthier environment in the aim of fostering lung health. The walk was done in solidarity of all partners to focus the public’s attention on respiratory wellness and to encourage participants to make a personal pledge to supporting lung health. 

Leading the fight against lung diseases 

In 2022, the Department of Health (DOH) reported 300,000 cases of acute respiratory infection over the course of six months. Among the most common lung diseases known to Filipinos are asthma, a disease of the airways in the lungs caused by inflammation; pneumonia, which happens when fluids build up in the lungs; tuberculosis (TB), a contagious disease caused by germs; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammation that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Other rare lung diseases that are equally important, but which are difficult to diagnose are interstitial lung disease (ILD), which is a group of disorders that cause progressive scarring of lung tissue.  

“There’s a wide range of topics for us to touch on regarding respiratory wellness. We at Boehringer Ingelheim, are committed to supporting our health organizations and medical societies to further increase disease education. We want to help push prevention and early diagnosis at the forefront so we can safeguard the health of many Filipinos,” said Dr. Greta Cortez, Head of Medicine for Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc.  

Through the “Lungs Matter: Raising Awareness for Respiratory Wellness” event, advocates champion the patients’ quality of life by putting importance on prevention and early detection. This educational discussion, in honor of National Lung Month, aims to inform the public about the predispositions and risks associated with common to life-threatening respiratory diseases. 

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