Welcome message from the president

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. Respiratory non-communicable diseases including asthma and COPD are key challenges for health in Africa and a major cause of morbidity and mortality in African population. Africa carries a disproportionally high burden of respiratory morbidity and mortality relative to the population size. Infectious diseases such as Pneumonia, Tuberculosis and HIV associated respiratory illnesses are amongst the commonest acute respiratory illnesses in African population.

Advancing lung health in Africa, a global imperative must be the mandate of the Pan African Thoracic Society. It is therefore essential that PATS maintain 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 40 African countries both Anglophone and Francophone.

In the past five years, PATS has witnessed tremendous growth both in membership and activities. I must pay special tribute to the immediate past PATS President Prof Heather Zar who has worked tirelessly to build the Society and improve its image globally. She has played a major role in promoting international relationship with the European Respiratory Society, American Thoracic Society and Forum of International Respiratory Society. We are forever grateful for her contribution. The partnership we have developed with these societies has enhanced the profile of PATS at international forums. We continue to receive support from these societies particularly towards our conference and website development. 

To promote self sustainability we have now embarked on revising the PATS Constitution to make it a membership society by subscription and to establish a permanent headquarters and banking facilities in Durban, South Africa. We hope the membership of PATS will support this move and subscribe substantially to the Society.

PATS has been engaged in several successful activities in the past and will continue to do so in the future. PATS has organized International Conferences in Nairobi, Kenya and Durban, South Africa. Other activities include PATS-MECOR (Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research) which has courses slotted for Tanzania 2019 and Cameroon 2020, further details of which are contained elsewhere on the PATS website. The development of Spirometry courses as a core activity has been quite successful and already five courses have been run in different countries.  Recently PATS has been engaged in discussions regarding the sustainability of the African Journal of Respiratory Medicine (AJRM).

We look forward for any advice and assistance to maintain this important journal which we hope one day will be the official journal of PATS.  Finally I would like to congratulate the new committee members who were elected or re-elected in Durban 2018 and look forward to working with them to help Africa Breathe Better.