ELF patient factsheets now available in Vietnamese



Patient factsheets produced by the European Lung Foundation are now available in Vietnamese. Thanks to the support of Professor Anh-Tuan Dinh-Xuan and his colleagues in Vietnam. All ELF factsheets are co-produced with experts at the European Respiratory Society and people with lung conditions. They are updated every 3 years, and are often written alongside new ERS guidelines.

Now that these factsheets are available in the local language, they can now be used as part of the FRESH AIR project in Vietnam. ELF will continue to work with Professor Dinh-Xuan and his colleagues to continue translating new patient materials into Vietnamese.


Access the Vietnamese fact sheets here



FRESH AIR in the spotlight at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Milan, Italy

From 9-13 September 2017, the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress took place in Milan, Italy. Several FRESH AIR collaborators presented their first findings at the world’s largest gathering of respiratory specialists. Evelyn Brakema presented a poster about the beliefs and behaviours towards lung diseases (ePoster), while Frederik van Gemert’s poster was about the implementation of a lung health awareness programmein Uganda (ePoster). Finally, Job van Boven presented for a large audience about the health economic burden of chronic lung diseases in Uganda, Vietnam,Kyrgyzstan and Greece.

Besides presenting scientific work, members of the FRESH AIR team raised awareness about the project at specific networking booths managed by ELF, Kyrgyzstan and FRESH AIR itself–as well as at a special World Village session dedicated to chronic lung disease in Kyrgyzstan, hosted byTalant Sooronbaev.

During social events and networking meetings, FRESH AIR progress was discussed and new ideas were exchanged. All in all, it was a very successful meeting and we are already looking forward to next years’ Congress in Paris, France where we expect to present an even larger number of FRESH AIR abstracts!




"What's in it for me?" a report on the annual GACD scientific meeting, Buenos Aires

In early October, renowned scientists, policymakers and representatives from funding agencies from across the globe gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina for this year’ s Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) annual scientific meeting. FRESH AIR, represented by our former project assistant and researcher Charlotte Poot, was also present. 

On the one hand, the aim of the conference is to share experiences, exchange research and discuss implementation strategies; on the other, it sets out to connect research and policy, and strengthen health systems on a national and international level. These are the overall challenges that the GACD has chosen to tackle.

Throughout the week -long meeting, a number of different interesting research topics passed the review. These ranged from  assessing a smoking intervention among Aboriginals, to treating hypertension in rural South Africa via text messaging. In the midst of numerous other GACD-funded implementation science projects, FRESH AIR stood out with its strong focus on delivering and studying interventions in its real-life context.


Bringing interventions, programmes, and policies to scale with the aim to make a difference remains the ultimate challenge in global health research. The annual scientific meeting provides the perfect opportunity to discuss how interventions can be made scalable in a sustainable and equitable way.

By learning from each other's  successes and failures, and by talking with those that are responsible for scale-up and policymaking, new strategies are thought of that correspond with the needs and agendas of those in charge. Attendees of the conference were also treated with a workshop on media communication, and were challenged to pitch their research project and its implications to a three-person jury during a Dragon’s Den-style competition. The contestants were not only judged on relevance, but also on the clarity of their message and their answer to the question, ͞what’s in it for me?

Overall, it was especially inspiring to see an entire group of not only researchers and scientists, but also policymakers and funding agencies, all there with one purpose: to learn from each other, in order to fight for the healthcare of those who need it the most.



Meet the FRESH AIR team: an interview with the Greece researchers 

In this interview, the FRESH AIR team based at the University of Crete gives an overview of the communities they are working with and the factors affecting their lung health, as well as the efforts the project is making to improve the situation. 


Citation: "Greece has one of the highest rates of tobacco consumption in the European Union. There is also evidence that exposure to household air pollution has gone up recently due to an increase in wood-burning, mainly for heating, as a consequence of the ongoing financial crisis."

Click here to read the full interview



Key messages from recent publications WHO and Lancet publications

Here are highlights from recent publications by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Lancet relevant to the FRESH AIR project:

WHO–Preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by reducing environmental risk factors WHO has prioritised addressing the health impacts of climate and environmental change as one of four top health priorities for the next 5 years. 

Click here for the highlights of this new report



Update on the midwife-led smoke reduction study in Uganda

Rupert Jones, Sanne van Kampen and Lucy Cartwright visited Uganda to meet up with Rebecca Nantanda, Bruce Kirenga and Shamim Buteme to continue work on the midwife-led smoke reduction study (WP 6.1). The study consists of several phases: phases 1 and 2 are now complete.


Phase 1: Developing the intervention strategy

Phase 2: Developing the educational materials, January-November 2017

  • Train midwives about household air pollution and impacts on mothers and their babies
  • Develop materials with midwives and nurses involved in the care of pregnant women
  • Field testing of materials and address the issues arising
  • Review of training material by experts
  • Submit for Ministry of Health approval


Phase 3: Deliver the intervention, February-April 2018

  • Conduct health education sessions during antenatal clinics
  • Conduct health education sessions for community health workers (VHTs)

Phase 4: Evaluation of intervention, February-April 2018

  • Evaluation of intervention on the trained midwives, VHTs, and households/women who received it in the community using pre- and post- questionnaires
  • Qualitative information using focus group discussions with stakeholders, including midwives; VHTs; and people in the community

Visit to Kampala and Jinja, Uganda November 2017

We visited clinics in Lonyoro and Busede to meet with midwives and observe them teaching in their pantenatal clinics.

These were very lively events, with great teaching and lots of participation from the audience of pregnant and postnatal women.

Feedback was obtained and suggestions for improvement of the materials were noted. After two intense but wonderful days in the villages, we had a meeting to finalise all plans for the remainder of the project – including the evaluation process, forms and reports to be completed.

It is anticipated that all reports will be completed on schedule by June 2018, and papers will be submitted by the end of August 2018.A film will also be made of the project, which will be due out early in 2018.Finally, we returned to Kampala for meetings and to celebrate the Makerere Lung Institute's second birthday.




FRESH AIR at the 1 st IPCRG South Asian Scientific Conference in Sri Lanka

From 3–5 August, 2017, the International Primary Care Respiratory Group held its first South Asian Scientific Conference in Sri Lanka.

300 primary care colleagues from 15 different countries–mainly in the South Asian region–attended the meeting. Those unable to attend in person were also able to watch sessions virtually, with over 2,000 people, mostly from China and the Middle East, accessing the conference remotely. The FRESH AIR project had a visible presence throughout the conference. Sessions were held on all the different FRESH AIR themes, reflecting the similarities between the needs of the communities involved in the project and those of the South Asian region.

Highlights included workshops on spirometry and diagnostics, including a demonstration of the SpiroSmart phone technology being used in FRESH AIR.

There was a lively session on caring for children with breathing problems, which contained interesting insights from Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Kyrgyz Republic. 

FRESH AIR contributed to a session on implementing pulmonary rehabilitation in low- and middle-income countries, and heard from colleagues in Bangladesh who have been inspired to start two of their own programmes with promising results.


Treating tobacco dependence was also an important theme, including a session from the WHO Regional Lead for South East Asia, Jagdish Kaur.

There was also a discussion session on finding local solutions for the world's biggest problem, indoor air pollution. This covered FRESH AIR’s work in the Kyrgyz Republic, Greece, Uganda and Vietnam, as well as the work of colleagues in slums in Bangalore, Preeti Sushama and Cristian Ghergu–who won the prize for best oral presentation.

Members of the FRESH AIR team also led a research writing school as part of the conference. These sessions aimed to help aspiring South Asian researchers keen to hone this important skill, and were very warmly appreciated. 

The FRESH AIR team would like to thank the young doctors who were excellent, knowledgeable and courteous hosts; the Chair of the Scientific Programme Committee, Prof Savi Wimalasekera (one of the FRESH AIR Scientific Advisory Committee); the Chair of the Organising Committee, Dr Seneth Samaranayake; and all of the IPCRG's Sri Lankan group, Primary Care Respiratory Group Sri Lanka.

View the full conference programme and download presentations here. Look back at tweets from the conference for insights, pictures and summaries here.