Spirometry testing in Africa supported by the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign
Earlier this year, the European Lung Foundation opened a grant call for events that support the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign. We funded 5 successful applicants from around the world who were planning Healthy Lungs for Life events to help promote the importance of lung health in their communities.
One of the successful applications was made by Lindsay Zurba, a respiratory nurse and spirometry trainer from South Africa. Lindsay had planned events in Kenya and Tanzania to offer free spirometry tests to local communities. These events were also supported by the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS), alongside other organisations and individuals.
In Nairobi, Kenya, a spirometry workshop was held on the 25 June at the Nairobi Hospital and Conference Centre to teach health professionals how to correctly carry out spirometry tests. Free lung function testing was then provided over two days for over 100 members of the local community who were tested and advised based on their results.
In Tanzania, professionals from the Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kilimanjaro had been trained in the use of spirometry equipment the preceding year, so were able to practice their new skills as volunteers at a free lung function event on the 29 June. 96 members of the public had their lung function tested and were offered general health checks and tests. Because of the event, 2 people whose lung function results were outside normal ranges received hospital referrals and one person received urgent treatment on the day of the event.
Lindsey commented: "The award of the €1000 Healthy Lungs for Life Grant made it possible for me to reach a remote community who needs and appreciated our screening efforts the most. This funding also made it possible for me to come alongside a rural community health team to continue to mentor and grow their skills and knowledge in the measurement and interpretation of spirometry. Participants with abnormalities were referred to the local hospital and have been treated for health concerns picked up during the Healthy Lungs for Life event.
"The event also caused health teams from 3 different centres in the area to come together in collaboration, all of whom now know each other and have formed new partnerships and working relations.The volunteers have grown in their individual personal and professional capacities."