This World Asthma Awareness month, Cipla launched its general patient & public awareness initiative – ‘Tuffies’ – directing more targeted awareness on improving respiratory care amongst children, especially those living with asthma. A widespread non-communicable disease, asthma is the most common chronic condition among children affecting nearly 7.9% of Indian children , with about 80% of asthmatics experiencing symptoms during the first 6 years of their life . Insufficient awareness about the disease, misconceptions and perceived myths associated with its cornerstone treatment i.e. inhalation therapy , have resulted in many cases of asthma going undiagnosed and even untreated. All this ultimately results in poor control of asthma, leading to a significantly impacted quality of life that includes frequent hospitalisations and missed school days .
Overcoming myths and stigma associated with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and its treatment, the Tuffies campaign is targeted at engaging children between the ages 5 through 10 years of age and their caregivers. While the campaign launches with the comic book, an animated video series is to follow.
Highlighting the importance of raising awareness about paediatric asthma through campaigns like ‘Tuffies’ Dr. Balachandra B.V., Paediatrician, Bangalore said, “Paediatric asthma can be a distressing condition for both the child and its family. It is a chronic condition that requires ongoing and often
intensive management to keep symptoms under control. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help reduce the frequency as well as severity of the condition. However, misunderstandings about the disease as well as its most widely used and recommended treatment i.e., inhalation therapy have led to parents often concealing the condition including for societal reasons, putting off treatment until symptoms worsens. This ultimately results in the insufficient management of the condition as well as a reduced quality of life, that includes frequent hospitalizations and missed school days . Campaigns like ‘Tuffies’ are important to combat the stigma and create a more supportive environment for children with asthma to thrive.”
Adding on, he said, “It is important for parents and caregivers to work closely with their child’s healthcare provider to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to adhere to the best -suited asthma management strategies. It is crucial to raise awareness about the true impact of asthma on children’s lives and to dispel any myths or misconceptions about the disease as well as its recommended method of treatment. By doing so, we can empower families to seek the necessary care and support for their children to reach their full potential.”
The campaign was launched with the unveil of the Tuffies Comic Book and the introduction to the Tuffies Team, a group of relatable, young, adventurous characters created to inspire children with asthma to not be limited by their condition. The comic book features – Vicky, an aspiring detective who lives with asthma but does not let it hold him back, his sister Mini, best friend Gullu and Vicky’s trusted companion Mr. Puffy. Each story from the ‘Tuffies Team’ will showcase them tackling challenging situations and solving mysteries in their hometown with Mr. Puffy providing guidance and motivation through his mantra ‘Breathe in and count to ten, breathe out and let go of doubt’.
Over the years Cipla has championed awareness around asthma through its #BerokZindagi campaign, using a multitude of creative formats and platforms to spark social conversation, engage the public and inspire change for asthmatics across the country. With the Tuffies campaign, Cipla dives deeper into
specific patient cohorts; spreading the message that asthma should not hold any child back from achieving their true potential, while also empowering parents to help them do so.