World Asthma Day: History, Theme, Significance

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 28, 2022, 8:08

TheWorld Asthma Day(Vishwa Asthma Divas) is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). GINA was founded in 1993 in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO). It holds the event in May every year to increase awareness regarding the disease.

Asthma is a major public health crisis. As per the WHO estimate, asthma affected more than 339 million people worldwide in 2016 and caused 417,918 deaths. Although asthma cannot be completely cured, the management of the disease lowers the chances of Asthma attacks, episodes, or exacerbation.

World Asthma Day (WAD) is celebrated with a specific theme chosen by GINA each year. The organization also coordinates the preparation and distribution of the events materials and resources. Further, the task of maintaining the World Asthma Day Internet Headquarters also lies with GINA. All activities related to the event happening worldwide are constantly updated on this website.

World Asthma Day - History

The first World Asthma Day was observed in 1998 with the participation of more than 35 countries. It was held together with the first global asthma meeting held in Barcelona, Spain. With an increasing number of participants each year since then, WAD has become one of the most significant asthma awareness and education events worldwide. 5th May 2021 marked the 23rd anniversary of this annual asthma awareness campaign.

World Asthma Day 2021 - Theme

World Asthma Day 2021 was held on 5th May 2021. The theme that year was “Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions.” The GINA aimed to address some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding asthma with this theme. Debunking such myths is essential as they affect the health and life of people suffering from asthma.

GINA identified four common myths related to the disease.

  • Myth: Asthma is a childhood disease that the child will outgrow with age.

Reality: Asthma is not just a childhood disease, though it often starts in childhood. It can occur during adolescence or adulthood.

  • Myth: Asthma is an infectious disease

Reality: Asthma is not infectious, though viral respiratory infections can trigger asthma attacks. Children often suffer from allergic asthma, but the same is not the case for adults.

  • Myth: People with Asthma should not involve in physical exercise.

Reality: Involving in physical exercise, even top sports, is not a problem when asthma is well-controlled.

  • Myth: Only high-dose steroids can control asthma.

Reality: Most people can control asthma with low-dose inhaled steroids.

The theme for Vishwa Asthma Divas2020 was ‘Enough Asthma Death.

World Asthma Day - Significance

If not properly treated, asthma can lead to many health issues. They include breathing difficulties, recurrent wheezing, sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Ignoring these symptoms causes emergency health conditions.

The above facts make it pertinent to raise awareness about the cause, treatment, and prevention of the disease and mobile resources globally to fight it. GINA hopes to achieve this through the various events held during; World Asthma Day. The events include free screening for asthma, media advertising, talks and interviews, and community-sponsored debates and quiz competitions in schools and colleges.

From 2022, every first Tuesday of May will be celebrated as World Asthma Day. The future dates for the Vishwa Asthma Divasevent are as follows:





May 3



May 2



May 7



May 6



May 5



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FAQs on World Asthma Day

Q.1) When was World Asthma Day2021 observed?

Ans: TheWorld Asthma Day 2021was observed on 5th May 2021. From 2022, the event will be held on the first Tuesday of May each year.

Q.2) When was the first Vishwa Asthma Divas event held?

Ans: The first Vishwa Asthma Divasevent was held in 1998.

Q.3) What theme did GINA come with for World Asthma Day2021?

Ans: In 2021, World Asthma Day was observed with the theme ‘Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions.

Q.4) Who organizes the events of World Asthma Day?

Ans: GINA, an organization, founded in collaboration with the WHO, organizes the World Asthma Day events.