Biomas Reduction and Environmental Air Towards Health Effects

The BREATHE Partnershipbrings African researchers, both leaders and trainees, together with international experts in all key aspects of household air pollution (HAP) in order to make the best use of new opportunities provided by a grant investment directed at quantifying and reducing the health effects of household air pollution. 

The partnership is organised around 4 themes which cover the breadth of research into household air pollution. In addition the Partnership has an overarching capacity building theme and this is primarily but not exclusively, delivered through the PATS MECOR programme. 



Stephen Gordon
Director of Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Centre
Professor of Respiratory Medicine
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

BREATHE Principal Investigator and PATS MECOR Director

Sean Semple.jpg

Sean Semple
Senior Lecturer
University of Aberdeen

Exposure and Biomarkers

Kevin Mortimer
Reader in Respiratory Medicine
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Health Effects

Jonathan Grigg
Professor of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine
Queen Mary University of London



The Pan African Thoracic Society (PATS) was formed in 2003 to create a representative African respiratory society for the continent and to address the high burden of respiratory illnesses in Africa. The overall aim of PATS is to promote lung health in Africa through education, training, research and advocacy.  

The Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research (MECOR) was founded 19 years ago by Professor Sonia Buist under the banner of the American Thoracic Society (ATS). MECOR courses were held initially in Latin America and are now also held in Africa, India, Vietnam, Turkey, Indonesia and China.

The Pan African Thoracic Society programme in Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research (PATS-MECOR) was designed in 2006 and started in 2007.   The specific needs identified in sub-Saharan Africa by PATS, the College of Medicine and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine were the same as those that were identified in Latin America at the outset of the MECOR programme in 1994.  These were:

  • Insufficient capacity to collect and interpret country/local specific data,
  • Insufficient understanding of research appraisal of the literature, and most critically,
  • Insufficient numbers of public health, academic, and clinical leaders to support and facilitate research and its application to public health and health care related to respiratory diseases and critical care medicine.

 In 2006, the Nuffield Foundation awarded PATS, the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine together with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine a grant to fund the PATS-MECOR programme for 5 years. 

From 2014 to 2018 PATS MECOR was funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the MRC/DFID Concordat agreement, as part of the BREATHE Partnership. The programme took place in Kenya in 2014 and 2015 and in Malawi in 2016. From 2018 PATS MECOR training will be provided by IMPALA in close collaboration with the PAN African Thoracic Society. PATS MECOR 2018 will be held in Durban in April in conjunction with IMPALA and BREATHE meetings.