|Abstract||Background: Chronic lung disease is common but under-reported in sub-Saharan Africa. The FRESH AIR survey in rural Uganda found 16% of the adult population had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), yet the word ‘COPD’ was completely unknown.|
Aims and objectives: We developed a lung health awareness programme in Masindi district to sensitise health care professionals and rural communities to the risks of chronic lung disease and to engage them in ways to prevent it and improve lung health.
Methods: We broadened the scope of a tobacco dependence education programme in low-income countries to include biomass smoke and lung health. We directed a two-year cascading train-the-trainer programme, led by the District Health Officer and conducted by healthcare workers (HCWs) who were fully engaged in developing the project strategy and education materials. All stakeholders including community health workers (CHWs) and villagers were consulted about preliminary materials such as ‘flipovers’. Incorporating all feedback, we designed a training programme with HCWs. To ensure maximum community penetration of our messages we also broadcast on local radio.
Results: Educational materials for the cascaded teaching were approved by the Ministry of Health. We trained 12 HCWs who then trained 47 HCWs who have trained over 100 CHWs so far. Pre-and post-training knowledge and skills have been tested. About 15,000 people have been educated directly and thousands more through mass media messages.
Conclusion: It is possible to teach local communities about lung health using the local health system in a cascading approach and to convey the message about damaging effects of biomass smoke and tobacco smoking.
|Date of Publication||06 December 2017|