A study in Africa to enhance the effective detection of asthma in adolescents by modern diagnostics methods has been launched in Kumasi.

Under a project, known as ‘Achieving Control of Asthma in Children in Africa (ACACIA) it will cover children aged 12- 16 years in six countries.

Researchers are expected to come out with information to improve the treatment and management of the disease.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease which causes inflammation, swelling and narrowing of air passage, accompanied by excess mucus and breathing difficulties.

The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood in Africa put the prevalence rate at 10 percent.

A World Health Organization suggests asthma killed 1,704 people in Ghana in 2017.

Another study in 1993, repeated in 2003 found approximately 1 in 10 children in urban areas may have the condition, which could be managed and controlled effectively when diagnosed on time.

The study found the condition leads to protracted periods of ill-health, restricted lifestyles, school and work absenteeism, among others.

Health experts identify early diagnosis as crucial in the effective control and management of the disease.

The ACACIA Study Project will be undertaken in Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda.

Principal Investigator, Prof. Emmanuel Addo-Yobo, says it will help determine current asthma prevalence in the target age group.

Queen Mary University of London is a collaborating institution.

Questionnaires and special exercises will be used to select candidates in over 25 schools for the study. 

“The diagnosis of asthma will be based on modern methods called spirometry which is a special assessment of lung health and also a fraction of exhaled nitric oxide,” Prof. Addo-Yobo said.

He says as part of awareness creation, drama performances will be staged in the schools of study.

Provost of KNUST College of Health Sciences, Professor Yaw Adu- Sarkodie, promised project resources will be used to build capacity of graduates.