Tackling Bad Air and Promoting Prevention and Care for Chronic Lung Diseases in sub-Saharan Africa: Assessing Evidence for Strategic Responses

Grace Marie V. Ku, Valéria Campos da Silveira, Guy Kegels, Patrick Develtere, Ben Nemery, Karel Gyselinck, Paul Bossyns

Research output: Contribution to conferenceC3: Conference - meeting abstractpeer-review


INTRODUCTION Chronic respiratory diseases (CRD) are de facto “neglected diseases” in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) although prevalences are significantly rising and more people at younger ages are affected. Disabilities from CRD intensify with increasing severity, leading to absenteeism, decreased productivity and steep increases in direct and indirect costs for individuals, families, economies and society. The wide implications of increasing prevalence and severity are recognized in SSA; however, there are serious challenges for effective action. AIM METHODS We conducted scoping reviews of literature and policy documents on CRD in SSA and interviewed key informants in several SSA countries to identify specific determinants, current health system responses and any ongoing programmes to formulate targeted and feasible strategies that could inspire future interventions to address the issue of CRD, in SSA countries. RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS Air quality is poor in much of SSA, affecting development of forming/immature lungs and damaging adult lungs. Rural-urban migration contributes to increased population densities. Resultant soaring utilisation of unclean energy and poorly-regulated transport increase outdoor air pollution. Poor working conditions in factories and mines, and largescale domestic use of biomass fuel significantly cause indoor air pollution. Holistic approaches to tackle air pollution and application of labour regulations for decent work can be part of the solutions. Translation of commitments to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control into action should be supported. Health systems responses to CRDs are poor to non-existent. There are no prevention activities and medications are rarely available; there is low-level CRD knowledge among healthcare professionals and the population. “Basic CRD care package” can be introduced and decision-support to healthcare professionals offered. Engagement of stakeholders – communities; specific groups, e.g., women’s organisations, mutual insurance institutions, professional associations – can be commenced. Sporadic/scattered projects/programs can be stimulated towards synergistic actions. An assessment tool determining contextual applicability of strategies can help tailor appropriate responses to the problem.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28-Sept-2021
Event12th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health - Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway
Duration: 27-Sept-20211-Oct-2021


Conference12th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health
Abbreviated titleECTMIH
Internet address


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