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£2 million research funding to address chronic lung disease in developing world

The University of Plymouth is part of a £2 million project to address chronic lung disease in the developing world through pulmonary (lung-related) rehabilitation.

The project, led by Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Leicester, will focus on developing, testing and delivering suitable pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programmes in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Chronic lung disease is associated with cigarette smoking, damage following TB, fumes from cooking on open stoves and air pollution – and 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.

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.

The research project, named RECHARGE, is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (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.

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