A cross-country qualitative analysis of teachers' perceptions of asthma care in sub-Saharan Africa.

23 Sep 2023


Asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease among school-going adolescents worldwide. However, the burden of severe asthma is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed to explore teachers' perceptions of asthma care across six African countries. We conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) using a semi-structured interview guide. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. FGDs were conducted in Kumasi(Ghana), Blantyre (Malawi), Lagos (Nigeria), Durban (South Africa), Kampala (Uganda), and Harare (Zimbabwe) between 01 November 2020 and 30 June 2021. We identified two key themes related to asthma care; barriers to asthma care and suggestions to improve the care of adolescents with asthma. Barriers reported by teachers included a lack of knowledge and skills among themselves, adolescents, and caregivers. In addition, some traditional beliefs of teachers on asthma exacerbated challenges with asthma care in schools. Regarding suggestions, most teachers identified a need for all-inclusive asthma training programmes for teachers, adolescents and caregivers, focusing on acute episodes and mitigating triggers. Utilising teachers with personal experiences with asthma to advocate and support these initiatives was suggested. Further suggestions included the need for annual screening to enable early identification of adolescents with asthma and clarify restrictions on teachers administering asthma medications. Teachers across African schools identify multiple barriers to asthma care. Structured school education programs and annual asthma screening are key to addressing some barriers to care.

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Resource information

Respiratory conditions
  • Asthma
Respiratory topics
  • Global Health
Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Naidoo KL, Dladla S, Mphahlele RE, Mosler G, Muyemayema S, Ssemata AS, Mkutumula E, Adeyeye OO, Goodman O, Kuyinu Y, Nantanda R, Addo-Yobo E, Owusu SK, Arhin B, Ticklay I, Mujuru HA, Grigg J, Masekela R