Cipla initiates ‘Asthma Alert Schools’ campaign in Kolkata

17th September 2010 | Kolkata

In an initiative to empower teachers and school authorities to handle asthma emergencies in schools, Breathefree, a public service initiative by Cipla launched a campaign called ‘Asthma Alert Schools’ in Kolkata today. It is the first ever initiative in India through which teachers would be trained to administer first-aid medication during an asthma attack and guided to identify symptoms of asthma in a child and to effectively communicate it to the parent. The campaign was initiated today with 200 teachers from over 40 schools of Kolkata who participated in the first workshop of ‘Asthma Alert Schools’ and would reach out to many more schools in the coming months. The school authorities can also place a request for a workshop for their teachers on

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children and today about 1 out of 10 children in India has asthma. It is the leading cause of school absenteeism and worldwide over 14million school days are missed each year due to asthma. It could affect a child’s overall development and performance, ability to concentrate or memorize and tire him out easily. Moreover, an asthma episode could escalate and result into death without prompt medical attention. But with awareness and right treatment, it is possible to lead a normal active life with asthma. Therefore, the objective of ‘Asthma Alert Schools’ is not only to equip teachers to prevent asthma deaths in schools but also for them to help children with asthma understand their triggers and participate fully in all school activities with their asthma under control.

Commenting on ‘Asthma Alert Schools’ campaign, Mrs. M Norman, Hon’ble Principal – Assembly of God Church, Tollygunge said, “With asthma episodes becoming more and more frequent with children, today it has become imperative for schools to have a basic understanding of asthma and be prepared to handle an asthma emergency situation. Children spend about 5-6 hours in school every day and we find a lot of children getting breathless after physical activities or recurrently suffering from cough and cold. We will now definitely discuss these symptoms with the parent so that a child’s health is not compromised. An initiative like the ‘Asthma Alert Schools’ is the need of the hour and will further help the staff to responsibly take care of the children during school hours.

Reinforcing the importance of the campaign, Mrs. M. Leena Harathi, Hon’be Principal- Andhra Association School said, “Trained through the workshop, we will now work towards minimizing triggers of asthma in the classroom and school environment as these are very easy to follow and execute. Also, during school excursions we will definitely ensure that there is a ‘Quick Relief Inhaler’ that is carried along in the trip.”

Dr. Pallab Chatterjee, Consultant Pediatrician, Columbia Asia Hospital & AMRI Hospitals, Salt Lake emphasized, “We are overwhelmed with the response from schools to the ‘Asthma Alert Schools’ campaign. The teachers play a huge role in shaping our personalities and often they motivate and influence us way beyond books and classrooms. I’m sure that several children would be benefited through this campaign and for those who are suffering needlessly with the symptoms, their teachers could be instrumental in transforming their quality of life.”

Dr. Dr. Subhasis Roy, Consultant Pediatrician, Columbia Asia Hospital & Sishu Sanjeevan Hospital, Salt Lake reinforced, “The first-aid box of every school should have the Quick-Relief Inhaler (Reliever medicine) so that in case of an emergency the necessary medication could be administered without delay. About 2 puffs given to the child every 5 minutes will ensure that his condition is brought under control even before medical help arrives or the parent is contacted. It is very simple to use device and is highly effective and affordable.”

About Breathefree:
Breathefree is a public service initiative from Cipla which with the support of health professionals aims to reach out to millions suffering from asthma and their families. Breathefree aims to help asthmatics lead fulfilling lives and make them believe that asthma is a disease that can be controlled.

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About Cipla:
Cipla laid foundations for the Indian pharma industry way back in 1935. At a time when the British ruled India and medicines were neither readily available nor affordable, Dr. K. A. Hamied founded Cipla towards making the country self-reliant in healthcare. He built Cipla with a promise “Never again will India be starved of essential drugs.”

Over the years Cipla has grown to be one of the most respected names in pharmaceuticals not just in India but worldwide. It’s state- of -the art R&D centre has given the country and the world many firsts. This includes the revolutionary AIDS cocktail for less than a dollar a day. With over 40 manufacturing units across the country, Cipla manufactures over 1200 products in various categories and has a presence in crop care and veterinary too.

With a turnover of over 5000 crores, Cipla today serves doctors and patients in over 176 countries. It has earned a name for maintaining one global standard across all its products and services. Cipla continues to support, improve and save millions of lives with its innovative drugs and devices.