Background: Asthma is one of the commonest public health problems in Poland and the commonest chronic disorder in children. Lodz Regional Health Insurance Fund was a sponsor of the Prevention Asthma Program in 2000–03, directed at increasing early detection and providing optimal treatment of allergies by specialists in children.
Methods: All funds were divided between 127 primary and 12 specialized care centres participated in the programme. Primary care centre goals were: anamnestic information, mapping of allergy-causing factors, repeated auscultation of the lungs, bronchial dilation test, peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurement at the clinic and at home for 2 weeks. After preliminary diagnosis patients have been send to specialized centres. Specialized care centre goals were as follows: skin testing, spirometry, repeated bronchial dilation test, determination of eosinophilic white blood cells and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) in blood.
Results: Increasing trend of new asthma diagnosis, expressed per 1000 inhabitants, was observed from 0.99 in 2000 to 2.19 in 2003. In the first year of Asthma Prevention Program, we observed more hospital episodes because of asthma exacerbation in comparison with year 1999 but from the second year of programme we showed systematically decreasing number of hospital episodes as a result of asthma exacerbation from 1.48 in 2000 to 0.84 in 2003. We found significantly decreasing trend in duration of hospitalization due to asthma exacerbation (P = 0.001).
Conclusions: Effects of this programmes are: early identification of allergic diseases, mainly asthma, reduced number and shorter duration of hospitalization because of asthma exacerbation and establishing new Asthma Schools Education.