Globally, it is estimated that 1 billion people suffer from acute and chronic respiratory conditions, making them major causes of illness and death. Although there is a relative lack of data and evidence on lung health illnesses beyond tuberculosis (TB) in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), their estimated regional burden is large and growing. In addition, there is a poorly understood relationship between infections, such as TB, and non-infectious causes of lung health problems. The problem in lung health diseases in SSA is exacerbated by many factors, including under-prioritisation, under-treatment, and weak preventative measures.
This information sheet details the five biggest respiratory conditions plaguing the African continent – Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Tuberculosis (TB), Lung Cancer, acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia, and provides details about International Multidisciplinary Partnership to Address Lung Health and TB in Africa (IMPALA), a 4-year programme launched in 2017 to generate knowledge and implementable solutions for high burden, under-funded and under-researched health problems where lung health and TB belong. It also provides summaries of some of the studies being carried out by IMPALA Ph.D. and Postdoctoral Research Assistants (PDRAs) researchers to generate the knowledge needed to address the gaps and enable the implementation of policy-level change for improved lung health.