Chronic lung disease is a common and growing problem in Africa affecting around 1 in 8 adults. The main forms are COPD, asthma and post TB lung disease. COPD is now the third leading cause of death in the world, and is rapidly increasing in Africa leaving many lives blighted by breathlessness and disability. In the West inhalers are the mainstay of treatment but in Africa they are difficult to find and too expensive for most.
Academics from the University of Plymouth and Makerere University, in Uganda, who have launched the project, say their research, funded by MRC, Wellcome Trust and the UK Government has shown that pulmonary rehab has worked extremely effectively in Uganda to improve symptoms, social isolation and return to productivity. In many patients, rehab is life transforming. Sadly, although many patients want to do rehab since the research has stopped there is nowhere for the rehabilitation to take place.
Dr Rupert Jones, who is leading the project says: “The centre will act as a permanent national centre for performing pulmonary rehab and for training staff from across Africa to conduct rehab to the highest standards. Please help us to build a centre to treat a neglected group of patients who are suffering from a devastating disease without treatment.”