Going global to support chronic lung disease sufferers

Researchers from our University and Leicester’s Hospitals are leading a £2 million project to address patients with chronic lung disease in the developing world through pulmonary rehabilitation.

Professor Sally Singh, professor of pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation at Leicester’s Hospitals and honorary professor at the Universities of Leicester and Loughborough is the director of RECHARGE, funded by the NIHR Global Health Research Programme. The aim of the Programme is to build on existing expertise within the UK and the wider global health community to support outstanding research that addresses health issues affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people in LMICs.

Chronic lung disease is associated with cigarette smoking, damage following TB, fumes from cooking on open stoves and air pollution. Chronic lung disease is rife across the developing world. Unsurprisingly, the disease affects the most vulnerable in society and affects people at a younger age than is the case in high-income countries.

Sufferers are frequently disabled by their breathlessness. As a result, individuals experience a reduced ability to exercise, poor quality of life, and can become depressed, socially isolated and unable to work. Medication is expensive, often unavailable, and does not reverse the profound disability caused by the lung disease.

The project will focus on developing, testing and delivering suitable pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programmes in low and middle income countries (LMICs). PR is a low cost, high impact healthcare intervention backed by strong scientific evidence. It reverses the disability associated with lung disease by offering supervised exercise training and disease education, which supports patients to manage their condition.

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