The 2019/20 Healthy Lungs for Life campaign was launched in Madrid, with a range of activities taking place across the city and in the Congress centre.
The main pubic event was held on 27 and 28 September in a prime location in the centre of Madrid, inbetween the Nuevos Ministerios metro station and the biggest El Corte Inglés (department store) in Madrid. A press conference marked the start of the event and introduced the new themes of the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign:
Talks were given from Professor Tobias Welte (ERS President 2018/19), Dr. Pilar de Lucas and Prof. Carlos Jiménez-Ruiz (ERS International Congress Chairs), Isabel Saraiva (ELF Chair), Carmen Hernández (Director of SEPAR Pacientes) and Blanca Pinedo (Madrid City Councillor). They discussed the importance of these four topics to help prevent lung disease and keep healthy lungs.
Members of the public were invited to have their lungs tested (spirometry) for free in the marquee. Doctors were onsite to offer support to people hoping to learn more about their test results as well as to give advice about stopping smoking and provide information about the importance of vaccination to prevent lung infections. Representatives from local patient organisations (SEPAR Pacientes, FENAER and Lovexair) were also onsite to provide more information.
Over 800 tests were completed during the event, with members of the public also taking part in a range of interactive activities – including iPad games and quizzes on air quality and static exercise bikes that made smoothies when peddled. A group of children from a local school also attended to have their lungs tested. They also learned about lung health through activities and materials provided by Twinkl, an educational publishing company who teamed up with ELF for the event.
A Meet the Expert evening was held in Madrid on 30 September 2019, to coincide with the ERS International Congress. The event was held at the Ministry of Health and aimed to get local patients and people with an interest in lung health to come and hear experts in respiratory health talk about the four themes of the campaign: air quality, stopping smoking, physical activity and vaccination. Approximately 60 people attended the event and were given the opportunity to ask their own questions.
The Healthy Lungs for Life campaign was also featured prominently within the ERS Congress Centre in Madrid, spreading its important messages to over 22,000 healthcare professionals from around the world.
For the first time, the ERS Congress introduced the Healthy Lungs for Life Scavenger Hunt, a friendly app-based competition for delegates. The tasks were designed to promote healthy habits for healthy lungs, for example: walking 10,000 steps a day, going to a green space, and using public transport. Delegates who reached the target number of points were awarded with a prize of their choice – a 'Take the active option' t-shirt or a Healthy Lungs for Life buff. The competition didn't finish there however, as the top-scorer also won an iPad!
Delegates enjoyed taking part in the Scavenger Hunt, learned more about holding their own Healthy Lungs for Life event, and picked up toolkits with more information and support.
Each year the European Lung Foundation (ELF) presents its annual award during the ERS Congress. It recognises people making an impact on lung health and people with lung conditions in an area related to the Healthy Lungs for Life theme.
The winner of this year's ELF Award is Dr Maria Neira (Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization (WHO)) for her commitment to improving air quality globally and ensuring that everyone is able to breathe clean air.
Read more and watch Dr Neira's acceptance video.