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IN 2011 the IPCRG organised a petition at the European Respiratory Society Meeting and achieved 1116 signatories, thanks to support from Mundipharma to offer IPCRG space on their stand, and an unrestricted grant to develop FRESH AIR in Uganda.  The petition was sent to Commonwealth Health Ministers, the Health Ministry in Uganda and the World Health Organisation.

Here is a copy in case colleagues would like to repeat it in their region:





Respiratory diseases are a major public health concern. 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, 210 million suffer from COPD and 600 million suffer from allergic rhinitis. More than half of them live in low-income populations, and of the 3 million deaths from COPD in 2005, 90 per cent occurred in low- and middle-income countries.1 Indoor air pollution caused by biomass fuel use for cooking and heating has been shown to be an independent risk factor for COPD. In fact, two million people die every year as a result of exposure to cooking stove smoke.2


At the first-ever UN High-Level meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases in September 2011, global leaders recognised the need to tackle the rising burden of non-communicable diseases, including respiratory diseases. We welcome the recognition by global leaders of the rising burden of NCDs, and the risks associated with indoor pollution, as a stepping stone for global action.


By 2025, COPD is predicted to become the third cause of death and will surpass AIDS/HIV in Africa.3  It is of the utmost importance that we continue efforts to invest in the collection of data on the prevalence of COPD and its risk factors in Sub-Saharan Africa so that the appropriate action can be taken.

We the undersigned call for health policy makers to make the respiratory health of sub-saharan commmunities a priority and implement culturally appropriate interventions to control COPD and its risk factors, to halt this growing epidemic.

We support the International Primary Care Respiratory Group’s (IPCRG) FRESH AIR study as an example of “innovative research relevant to the African context”4 that will enable us to quantify the problem in Uganda and test solutions addressing exposure to tobacco and indoor smoke.

Show your support today!

1. Do you pledge your support?

Yes I pledge my support

2. Enter your full name



3. Which country are you from?

4.  If you are a healthcare professional, and would like to become part of a network of clinicians with an interest in chronic lung disease in low income countries, please provide your email address. This will be held by IPCRG for the purpose of providing you with additional information on FRESH AIR and other relevant activities and will not be disclosed to any third party.

Please add your email address below.

Thank you for pledging your support!



1 - WHO. Global surveillance, prevention and control of Chronic Respiratory Diseases: a comprehensive approach. World Health Organization 2007.

2 – Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. Cookstoves and Non-Communicable Diseases. September 2011.

3 - WHO. Global Alliance against Respiratory Diseases: action plan 2008-2013. World Health Organization 2008.

4 - The Brazzaville Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control In The Who African Region. Who Regional Office For Africa. April 2011. Clause 10.




Background notes



The main objective of this FRESH AIR study is to conduct a population-based, cross-sectional epidemiological study on the prevalence of COPD and its risk factors in resource-poor settings of a rural area in Uganda among 300 men and 300 women above the age of 30 years.

It has four objectives:

  1. To educate and train local healthcare workers in the knowledge of COPD to ensure they are able to identify feasible options and then set priorities on the basis of current evidence
  2. To conduct a population-based epidemiological study on prevalence and severity of COPD, and its risk factors particularly tobacco smoking and indoor air pollution in resource-poor settings of a rural area
  3. To evaluate the burden of COPD in terms of its impact on quality of life, activity limitations, respiratory symptoms ,and use of health care services in resource-poor settings of a rural area
  4. To measure the direct exposure to biomass smoke (PM₂̦₅), 24-hour mean exposure, in the indoor environment of resource-poor settings of a rural area, combined with a qualitative assessment of the cooking tradition and behavior of people with COPD.


Fresh Air is funded by IPCRG, supported by a grant from Mundipharma International Ltd.  


For more information on the International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG), please visit