In time we intend to develop this as a core portal for information on respiratory medicine in Africa, but for the moment it simply acts as the base for free online access to the journal.
We work very closely with the Pan African Thoracic Society and the excellent news from that quarter is that PATS constitution has been formally adopted by the Tunisian Ministry of Health and is in the process of being registered formally with the African Union and other international bodies. Finally, respiratory medicine in Africa may obtain the profile the disease burden demands.
And the burden is huge. According to the 2004 assessment of the International Energy Agency, the number of people relying on biomass fuels such as wood, dung and agricultural residues, for cooking and heating will continue to rise. In sub-Saharan Africa, the reliance on biomass fuels appears to be growing as a result of population growth and the unavailability of, or increases in the price of, alternatives such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas. Despite the magnitude of this growing problem, the health impacts (such as COPD) of exposure to indoor air pollution have yet to become a central focus of research, development aid and policy-making. We wish to encourage such research and be an open platform for publishing such work.
Meanwhile pneumonia and other acute lower respiratory infections also demand much increased attention.
About 20% of all deaths in children under 5 years are due to Acute Lower Respiratory Infections (ALRIs - pneumonia, bronchiolitis and bronchitis); tuberculosis continues to be a leading cause of deaths and with the emergence of new drug resistant strains will most probably not be containable by drugs alone. Viral infections such as measles, respiratory syncytial virus, and the much publicised parainfluenza viruses are also highly significant causes of morbidity and mortality in Africa, especially amongst the young.
The disease burden needs to be addressed. Research in Africa needs to be encouraged, especially by Africans. AJRM can hopefully act as a platform for publication of this.
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