Welcome to the Makerere University Lung Institute website. Makerere University Lung Institute (MLI) was established in November 2015 as an academic response to the rising yet unrecognized epidemic of lung diseases in Uganda and other Resource Limited Settings (RLS).While infectious lung diseases epidemics notably tuberculosis are still ragging on in many RLS, there is now an even bigger epidemic of non-communicable respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma and lung cancer.1 Moreover the communicable and non-communicable lung diseases are converging; tuberculosis causing COPD, childhood infections predisposing to asthma, Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) predisposing to COPD and pulmonary vascular disease among others2. The risk factors are also converging; tobacco smoking is a key risk factor for COPD but also increases susceptibility to Tuberculosis, indoor and outdoor air pollution predisposes to asthma but is also now being recognized as a risk factor for tuberculosis and in some reports HIV.
The impact of this high burden of the lung diseases is compounded by several factors among which is the very limited awareness and knowledge of these diseases by the population and even the health care professionals. When we conducted surveys in rural communities in Masindi, the word COPD was hardly known. More so COPD was not mentioned in the most recent clinical guidelines for Uganda. Following from the lack of awareness, there are severe shortage of diagnostic and treatment options for lung diseases. Many RLS are also facing a severe shortage of healthcare professionals with the expertise and experience to tackle lung diseases epidemics.
In view of the above MLI was established to champion lung health research that integrates disease prevention, clinical care and training in sub-Saharan Africa.
MLI welcomes all persons interested in lung health within the Makerere University community and beyond. I therefore welcome you to join us and find out how you can contribute to the vision of MLI.