Fifty-eight junior high school (JHS) teachers in the Ashanti region have benefited from asthma care training by the Pan African Thoracic Society and School of Medicine and Dentistry of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

It is aimed at providing basic training for teachers and school health coordinators on identifying children and adolescents with asthma in school.

The meeting forms part of activities to mark World lung day.

The Forum of Respiratory Societies (FIRS) recently launched a global charter for lung health, calling for better lung health for all and the creation of a World Lung Day on 25th September.

World Lung Day is an annual event that focuses on respiratory diseases as a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.

The workshop funded by the Pan African Thoracic Society drew teachers from both private and public schools to deliberate on ways to remove stigma and barriers to asthma control and improve care in the school environment.

Programme coordinator, Dr Sandra Kwarteng Owusu revealed the move was informed by a study which found many pupils unknowingly suffering from asthma.

“From the Achieving Control of Asthma in Children in Africa (ACACIA) study, we realize there’s a very big number of children between the ages of 12 and 16 with asthma who do not have an official diagnosis.

“We felt that we could talk to the teachers and empower them on what childhood asthma is and be the link between the children and the health team that manages them,” she said.

A facilitator, Dr Haruna Mahama, who is a paediatrician with the St Theresa’s Hospital, in the Upper West Region added “most children spend one-third of their time in a day with the teachers, if there’s any problem those caring for them should have the knowledge to assist them”.

Municipal School health coordinator, Rev. Emmanuel Addo was optimistic the workshop will help with the management of cases in the schools.

“At first, most of our teachers didn’t know how to manage the situation so sometimes it’ll be a problem for the school. Now that they’ve gotten a firsthand experience, they’ll be able to manage it,” he said.

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