Healthy Lungs for Life interview
Lindsay Zurba, the PATS Spirometry facilitator, recently gave an interview to the European Lung Foundation regarding the Health Lungs for Life event hosted in 2019 in Tanzania. An excerpt of the interview is below.
Tessa and Lindsay talk about their experiences of receiving Healthy Lungs for Life grants and about the impact that their events had
The Healthy Lungs for Life (HLfL) grants provide €1,000 to individuals, not-for-profit organisations, patient groups and respiratory professionals to support Healthy Lungs for Life events in local communities. This helps to spread the important messages of the campaign around the world. You can find out more about them and how to apply on our HLfL website.
Lindsay and Tessa were grant awardees in 2019. They tell us about their experiences of receiving the HLfL grants and holding their events.
PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
Tessa: I am 75, with emphysema (a condition that affects the air sacs in the lungs and is a type of chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)). I have been Chair of the Breathe Easy Westminster support group for nine years. We have about 180 members. I am also involved with Client Earth (an environmental charity) and the fight against air pollution has been of ongoing interest.
Lindsay: I am a respiratory nurse practitioner. I have been developing and facilitating spirometry and respiratory health training in Africa for two decades.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO APPLY FOR THE HLFL EVENT GRANT?
Tessa: The event would both educate our current members and introduce our group to new members.
Lindsay: In an effort to participate and “give back” it is important to hold a HLFL event every year. For these events it is best to share the opportunity for free lung testing, education and follow up with the communities who need it the most. I believed that the grant would help with the necessary financial requirements such as: disposables, banners and team t-shirts.
CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE EVENT THAT YOU HELD?
Tessa: We held two events in London. Speakers from Imperial College London, Kings College London, The British Lung Foundation (BLF) and others all agreed to attend even before we knew that we had the grant. The grant enabled us to widen our publicity and buy indoor plants to make it more green.
Lindsay: Supported by the Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS) and Kibong’oto Infectious Diseases Hospital (KIDH), the event offered spirometry testing and health education in a tent in a field in rural Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
We were able to reach a remote community who needed and appreciated our screening efforts the most. It was possible for me to come alongside a rural community health team to continue to mentor and grow their skills and knowledge in the measurement and interpretation of spirometry.
DO YOU FEEL THAT THE EVENT WAS A SUCCESS?
Tessa: Definitely a success; we gained new members and received a really positive response.
Lindsay: Yes, it was hugely successful. We had a constant stream of people patiently waiting for a spirometry test to find out more about their lung health.
WHAT IMPACT HAS YOUR EVENT HAD ON THE AREA?
Tessa: The spirometry testing resulted in a high percentage of local residents being referred to their GPs.
Lindsay: Those with abnormal lung function were referred to the local hospital where members of the HLfL team followed up to carry out further tests for people with abnormal test results.
Health teams from three different centres in the area came together in collaboration, all of whom now know each other and have formed new partnerships and working relations. The volunteers have grown in their individual personal and professional capacities.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE HLFL GRANT TO OTHERS?
Tessa: Yes I would; I have already informed the UK Breathe Easy Chairs who I am in touch with about the grant scheme.
Lindsay: Certainly – yes of course. The grant makes all the difference to purchasing the necessities for such an event as well as the quality of the event that you can provide.
This article was originally published by the European Lung Foundation (ELF). See the original article on the ELF website