Welcome message from the president
Welcome to the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS) website!
The Pan African Thoracic Society is a major professional organization representing Lung Health in Africa. Africa carries a disproportionally high burden of respiratory morbidity and mortality relative to the population size. In Africa infectious diseases are still a major cause of death including; pneumonia, tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) associated respiratory diseases. Coupled with this, the increasing burden on non-communicable respiratory diseases including asthma and COPD which are said to overtake infectious diseases in Africa by 2030.
Advancing lung health in Africa, a global imperative is the mandate of the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS). It is therefore essential that PATS maintains a strong voice to represent African lung health issues and further develop educational, research and advocacy initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Society was formed in 2003 to create a forum to address the concern that optimal management and control of respiratory diseases is not being achieved in many African settings. Furthermore, PATS was concerned at the late or misdiagnosis of respiratory diseases in Africa. Formed initially as a virtual organization, PATS currently has a membership composed of professionals from 43 African countries both Anglophone and Francophone countries.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives in Africa, and highlighted key gaps in health systems across the continent in managing respiratory diseases. Key issues included; access to oxygen therapy, health force challenges and access to intensive care facilities. Here I would like to thank Dr Joseph Aluoch who steered the society through the turbulent 4 years which saw the society’s footprint grow beyond the African continent. New activities including webinars hosted by PATS and linkages of PATS members to key initiatives and position statements on access to affordable medicines and access to oxygen in Africa. Through our ongoing support and engagement with the European Respiratory Society, American Thoracic Society, British Thoracic Society and Forum of International Respiratory Society we have seen PATS making an impactful change in global respiratory issues.
As an organization we have continued with our flagship PATS MECOR research training program which pivoted to an online platform in 2021 and has just completed a course in Nairobi Kenya, June 2023. We are grateful for the support by the NIHR Global Health Group -IMPALA for funding this course over the last 6 years. The Pan African Thoracic Society Journal was successfully launched and has grown in stature over the last 3 years with the support of the British Thoracic Society (BTS). Through the support of BTS we have also had two successful short-term fellowship attachments in the UK and Africa in 2022 and 2023.
We would like to congratulate our new EXCO that took over the reins in June 2023 and we hope to grow the organization in the next 2 years to improve the lives of all people with respiratory disease and advocate for lung health in Africa.
Professor Refiloe Masekela PhD