MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $300,000 to promote awareness and early screening and detection for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“Our government understands that a stronger health-care system is a priority for New Brunswickers,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “Today’s investment will support a healthier population by promoting awareness of COPD and will support patient outcomes through increased screening and earlier detection.”

The one-time funding will support some of the regional health authorities’ existing quality improvement initiatives while the Department of Health continues to explore opportunities to create system changes that will improve the prevention and management of chronic diseases.

“Chronic diseases such as COPD have an immense impact on our health-care system, not to mention the toll it takes on patients and their family members,” said Dr. Marcel Mallet, respirologist with the Vitalité Health Network and chair of the provincial COPD advisory committee. “This investment will enable us to focus on building capacity, awareness, community partnerships, and proactive diagnosis and treatment via early detection and screening.”

More than 55,000 New Brunswickers live with COPD and it is estimated 4,450 new cases will be diagnosed this year.