Pune’s KEM Hospital Research Centre Wednesday launched the short film ‘Breathing freely’ (Olakh Moklya Shwasachi) to create awareness about respiratory diseases. The 15-minute film is financially supported by the NIHR Global Health Research Unit in Respiratory Health (RESPIRE) at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

The film aims to target rural audiences in order to raise awareness about respiratory health with a focus on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and asthma. It further aims to educate about the preventive measures, available treatments and rehabilitation possibilities. The film also sheds light on the important work being done at the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centre at KEM Vadu.

Dr Parag Khatavkar, Chest Physician, KEM Hospital Research Centre told the media that respiratory diseases, especially COPD and asthma, are among the most misunderstood and underdiagnosed diseases. He said, “The film will help reduce the confusion and increase awareness about the disease and its diagnosis. The film attempts to debunk myths, misconceptions and superstitions surrounding the diseases and tries to de-stigmatise the use of inhalers and similar treatments. Such films are necessary to clarify misunderstandings regarding respiratory diseases.”

Diksha Singh, psychologist at KEM Hospital Research Centre, who conceptualised and coordinated the film production process, said the intention is to have screenings in urban as well as rural areas and also across social media platforms. The film will be screened in the waiting areas of the general as well as chest department OPDs, private chest clinics and study clinics under the Vadu Rural Health Programme.

The film revolves around a man who recently retired and stays in an urban area, an athlete who aspires to run a marathon and a middle-aged housewife of a rural area. All the three characters face symptoms like breathlessness, cough, wheezing and reduced exercise capacity. After a doctor’s consultation and further diagnosis, they learn about the preventive measures, available treatments and rehabilitation possibilities. The film shows healthcare professionals helping the patients debunk myths, misconceptions and superstitions surrounding the disease and the use of inhalers.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centre at Vadu

The KEM Hospital Research Centre works with a mission to provide evidence-based, sustainable and rational healthcare solutions for the rural population using globally-relevant community-based ethical research.

“A locally suitable Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centre was set up under the Vadu Rural Health Programme,” Dr Sanjay Juvekar, professor and head, Vadu Rural Health Program, KEM Hospital Research Centre, said. The Pulmonary Rehabilitation study is the first instance of pulmonary rehabilitation being systematically introduced in rural India and demonstrates the effects of Pulmonary Rehabilitation on improving health and quality of life of Chronic Respiratory Disease patients.

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