We care about your lungs

The global impact of the five main respiratory diseases (COPD, asthma, respiratory infections, tuberculosis (TB) and lung cancer) is massive. Combined they represent an immense burden of suffering, as well as a leading cause of death and disability. They include both acute and chronic, infectious and non-communicable diseases.

News & Actions

  • Cape Town, Glenview, Lausanne, Montevideo, New York, Paris, Tokyo, March 24, 2017 – In support of World TB Day, 24 March, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) urges action on five united strategies to ensure the aim of ending tuberculosis (TB) by 2030 becomes achievable, despite new and emerging challenges.

    TB is preventable and curable, yet it remains one of the world’s most pressing public health challenges and is one of the five* chronic conditions that most contribute to the global burden of respiratory diseases.

    In 2015, there were 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, and 1.8 million people died of TB. In the same year, 480,000 patients developed multidrug-resistant TB – now a recognised public health emergency and a statistic that is predicted to rise still further. TB remains an important preventable cause of childhood death and morbidity - in 2015, one million children developed TB while 210,000 children died of TB. TB is the leading killer of people with HIV - 35% of deaths among HIV-positive people are directly due to TB infection.

    FIRS calls for immediate action on the following five points to accelerate progress in confronting TB and reduce the overall impact of respiratory illness on lung health.

    • Financial investment to address the TB funding gap.  During 2015, investment into TB care and prevention in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) fell almost US$ 2 billion short of the US$ 8.3 billion needed in 2016. This gap will widen further by 2020 if current funding deficits are not addressed. With 60 percent of global TB cases occurring in just six countries (India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa), investment and action in these areas would drive down the overall TB burden. It is therefore imperative that sustainable funding must not only be promised, but also delivered.
    • Health systems fit for purpose. The World Health Organization’s ratification of a shortened treatment regimen for drug-resistant cases of TB – just nine months, instead of the 24-month treatment standard, offers the opportunity to relieve the burden on patients and health care systems – but only if LMICs are supported to develop health care structures that can implement the recommendations.
    • Active case finding to address diagnostic and treatment gaps. Of the estimated 10.4 million new TB cases recorded in 2015, only 6.1 million were detected and notified. Without active case finding, the missing millions infected with TB will remain untreated and contribute to an increase in infection and MDR-TB cases. Failure to detect and provide preventive therapy to child contacts of adult cases is a major cause of childhood TB.
    • Empower communities to develop and deliver people-centred solutions. Funding and staffing communities to enable them to make the decisions about the type of care that best suits them and their region, while drawing in the expertise of the wider public health community is fundamental to sustained TB prevention and cure. Governments worldwide must enable on-the-ground solutions to be prioritised and distribute funding to make them sustainable.
    • A multinational, multisectoral approach. A commitment to TB elimination must be multisectoral, involving multiple government departments, sectors of society, and national and international organisations. This is crucial in order to target hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations within LMICs, especially with the counter-effects of migration and civil upheavals globally.

    Progress in these five critical areas will significantly reduce the global TB burden and ensure that we take significant steps along the road to achieving the strategy to end TB by 2030.

    Download the FIRS TB factsheet

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    For further details on FIRS and World TB Day 2017, contact:

    Jo Waters
    Communications Department
    The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease


    About the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS)

    The Forum of International Respiratory Societies(FIRS) is an organisation comprised of the world's leading international respiratory societies working together to improve lung health globally: American Thoracic Society, American College of Chest Physicians, Asociación Latinoamericana De Tórax, Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, European Respiratory Society, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and the Pan African Thoracic Society. The goal of FIRS is to unify and enhance efforts to improve lung health through the combined work of its more than 70,000 members globally.


  • Cape Town, Glenview, Lausanne, Montevideo, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Dec. 1, 2016— In recognition of World AIDS Day, held annually on Dec. 1 each year since 1988, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) is calling on governments, health advocates and non-government organizations to strengthen their response to HIV/AIDS. In 2015 AIDS claimed 1.1 million lives.


  • Strategies to prevent and treat pneumonia must be strengthened to address the large global burden

    Cape Town, Glenview, Lausanne, Montevideo, New York, Paris, Tokyo (November, 12, 2016) In support of World Pneumonia Day, 12 November, the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) calls for global efforts to strengthen effective strategies to protect against, prevent and treat pneumonia.


About us

The forum aims to promote advocacy in matters of global respiratory health and the identification of new areas for global initiatives

The Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) was established in 2001, with members coming from a number of international societies, including Asociación Latinoamericana del Thorax (ALAT), the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), the American Thoracic Society (ATS), the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology (APSR), the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS).



Some of the key issues highlighted in the report are:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects more than 200 million people and is the fourth leading cause of death in the world.
  • Asthma affects about 235 million people worldwide, is one of the most frequent reasons for hospital admissions among children, and leads to approximately 180,000 deaths each year.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) kills around 1.4 million people with about 8.7 million new cases annually.
  • Respiratory infections account for over 4 million deaths annually, including 1.3 million  children under 5, and are the leading cause of death in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, accounting for 13% of the total reported cancers and affecting over 1.6 million people annually.



FIRS members main conferences in 2017.

19-24 May 2017 Washington DC, USA ATS
9-13 Sep 2017 Milan, Italy ERS
11-14 Oct 2017 Guadalajara, Mexico The Union
28 Oct-1 Nov 2017 Toronto, Canada CHEST
23-26 Nov 2017 Sydney, Australia APSR
27-30 Jun 2018 Mexico City, Mexico ALAT

World days related to lung health


24 Mar 2017 World Tuberculosis Day
3 May 2017 World Asthma Day
31 May 2017 World No Tobacco Day
1 Aug 2017 World Lung Cancer Day
12 Nov 2017 World Pneumonia Day
16 Nov 2017 World COPD Day
1 Dec 2017 World AIDS Day

World Lung Cancer Day is a day to celebrate, commemorate and support those who have been impacted by lung cancer. In recognition of World Lung Cancer Day on August 1 members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) will launch a global campaign to raise awareness about lung cancer and create an educational movement of understanding lung cancer risks, as well as early detection and treatment across the world.

According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, accounting for 1.8 million new cases in 2012, and is responsible for nearly one in five deaths. Lung cancer claims more lives yearly than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.

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