Short Report

A historical overview of childhood asthma in southern Africa: Are we there yet?

R E M Mphahlele, R Masekela

Abstract


Background. The prevalence of asthma, the most common respiratory disease in children, has increased in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly in Africa. Despite poor infrastructure and limited resources, researchers in southern Africa have sought to determine the prevalence of childhood asthma, with variable results reflecting actual differences as much as methodological limitations and biases.

Objective. To collate and report findings from studies on the epidemiology of childhood asthma in southern Africa.

Method. A review of the literature was undertaken.

Results. The prevalence of childhood asthma in southern Africa is variable but has increased over the last four decades, particularly in South Africa (3.17% to 21.29%). Methods used to assess the burden of asthma have been in the form of questionnaires, bronchial hypersensitivity provocation tests, lung function measurement and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO).

Conclusion. The prevalence of childhood asthma is increasing in rural and urban areas in southern Africa. Research collaboration driven by a better understanding of the heterogeneous nature of asthma can improve challenges faced in evaluating the burden of asthma in African countries


Authors' affiliations

R E M Mphahlele, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

R Masekela, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2021;27(4):163.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-01-24
Date published: 2022-02-01

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African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine| Online ISSN: 2617-0205

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