Article Abstract

The nationwide program of allergic disease prevention as an implementation of GARD guidelines in Poland

Authors: Filip Raciborski, Bolesław Samoliński, Edyta Krzych-Fałta, Aleksandra Grąbczewska, Filip Furman, Michał Bieszczad, Paweł Morkisz, Patrycja Witkowska, Jean Bousquet, Mariusz Gujski


Background: In 2006, the Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD) was established. The GARD strategy is based mainly on activities aimed at implementing preventive tasks at a local and global level. In Poland, the National Health Program (NHP) is the strategic document describing the tasks of governmental and local administration in the field of public health. One of the activities under the NHP is a project to carry out mass allergy screening (of children and adolescents at school age) and to organize an information and education campaign.
Methods: In 2017–2018, the screening will cover a group of at least 10,000 children and adolescents at school age (6–18 years of age) in 10 of 16 voivodships in Poland. In the study, the e-health tool for early pre-medical risk assessment of allergic diseases was used. The algorithm determines the risk of bronchial asthma (BA) and allergic rhinitis (AR) based on a series of 38 questions on the symptoms of allergic diseases. In order to assess the effectiveness of the screening test (algorithm) a validation study was carried out before screening. Moreover, the algorithm was calibrated on the basis of the obtained results. The screening is accompanied by a nationwide information and education campaign carried out by means of new media.
Results: A total of 1,008 children and adolescents participated in the validation study. In outpatient examination AR was diagnosed in 46.4% and BA in 11.2%. In the case of AR, the sensitivity of the calibrated version of the algorithm was 0.852 and the specificity was 0.840. In the case of BA, it was 0.841 and 0.912, respectively. In 2017, 1,512 people used the screening tool, of which 1,472 respondents went through all stages of the assessment. BA positive AR result (probably sick) was found in 19.5% of respondents and BA in 8.4%.
Conclusions: The use of e-health tools in mass screening and new media to conduct information and education campaigns allows for the reduction of costs and for efficient implementation of activities. It is important to popularize the use of this type of solutions both at national and local level.