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BREAKING NEWS...Kenyan Man in Boston Discovers COPD treatment, Featured in Nursing's Leading Journal
Dr. George Kiongera
PHOTO:Dr. George Kiongera, CEO and President of Maestro- Connections Health System. Dr. Kiongera has discovered an effective treatment for COPD in older patients. AJABU AFRICA NEWS PHOTO/H,MAINA

Harrison Maina

Sep,26-2015 17:33:27
BOSTON----Dr. George Kiongera, the Kenyan man who several years ago became the first Kenyan known to hold a Doctorate Degree in Nursing Practice has achieved another rare feat; a research study he conducted recently on the first ever known treatment of older patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD) was accepted and published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing--the world's leading resource for nursing care of older adults.

The feature, titled "inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program in a long-term care facility" was featured from page 44 to 52 of the mostrecent issue (August 2015)of the nursing care journal that is published only once a month.

Currently, there is no any other Kenyan known to have been published in the world renowned journal.

Following the success of Dr. Kiongera's study findings and recommendations in treating patients stuck in long term care facilities due to COPD, a debilitating breathing problem with no previously known cure, and as a result accepted and featured nursing care journal, Dr. Kiongera's research now officially becomes a resource for healthcare providers and medical students all over the world dealing with COPD patients.

According to the renowned journal, the purpose of the study was to evaluate short-term outcomes of inpatient pulmonary rehabilitation programs (IPRs) for older adult with COPD. The IPR comprises medical management, exercise, nutrition, counseling and coping skills education programs among other interventions.

The journal concluded that after the IPR proposed by Dr. Kiongera's study was applied to older patients above 65 years, scores for health-related quality of life and subscales of symptoms, impact and activity showed a statistically significant improvement.

The August 2015 cover of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing featuring a new study (3rd item on featured articles list) by Dr. George Kiongera, is a Kenyan who practices medicine and is also a healthcare entrepreneur in Boston. AJABU AFRICAN NEWS PHOTO/H.MAINA

"Results showed that early IPR is an effective intervention for the management of symptoms of COPD in older adults recovering from a COPD exacerbation," the journal observed in an abstract.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, COPD is a debilitating, progressive breathing problem that causes irreversible damage to the lungs. It is ranked as the 3rd leading cause of death and 12th leading cause of morbidity in the USA. It is more prevalent than other major chronic diseases, such as Alzeihmer's disease and chronic renal failure, with more than 5% of the adult population in the USA being affected.

In 2010, the economic cost of COPD was estimated to be around $49.9billion with a further estimate of $29.9 billion per year used in direct treatment of patients. Another study in 2007 ranked COPD second to coronary heart disease as the reason for social security disability payments.

Dr. Kiongera's study, l therefore becomes the first known cure to manage and the treat the disease in the world, dramatically improving the quality of life for millions of older patients and potentially saving billions of dollars otherwise spent in efforts to manage the disease in long term care facilities.

It was conducted in conducted in conjunction with Dr. Crocker Houde, an associate Dean and Director of Division of Public Health, Director of Regional Consortium of Community--Engaged Gerontology Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

"I feel much honored for my study having passed through the extremely rigorous review process by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Umass Lowell to meet the quality needed to be published in the Journal of Gerontological nursing. I am very happy to have made a significant contribution to the world of nursing that will help patients with COPD enjoy a much better lifestyle in the comforts of their homes instead of getting condemned to long term facilities struggling with the disease," Dr. Kiongera told Ajabu Africa News during an interview at this office in Lawrence where he is the President and CEO of Maestro-Connections Health Systems.(website)

According to Kiongera, his 9 pages of conclusive study was based on the content  from his PHD thesis completed in 2013, but had to be upgraded and accepted for international publication for it's "originality and ability to add something new to the subject matter" in question.

"This journal is the main and leading journal of gerontology in the world. The process of getting published there is very vigorous and leaves no chance for error. For me it was questions of either perish or publish-and so i decided to publish. I am very happy that it was published. Caregivers and research students all over the world can now quote findings from this study. I am very glad to have made a contribution to the world of academia as well," he added.

Dr. Kiongera said that his study lasted two months and involved 23 patients --12 male and 11 females aged between 46 to 95, all who were suffering from chronic end stage COPD and condemned to a life in long term care facilities in the US.

He said that before the study, the patients were so sick that they could hardly move any part of their bodies for the pain, and energy needed with their lungs not generating much oxygen.

"When a patient is suffering from this kind of COPD, even lifting an arm is a major task. These patients could hardly move or take a single step to anywhere. The slighttest movement brings tremendous pain in the lungs, so they prefer to stay in one place.However, after implementing our 8 week therapy program on them, which involved exercise and medication the patients improved dramatically in various outcome measures. They were then discharged from the long term facilities to continue with the therapy and recuperation at home," Kiongera told Ajabu Africa News.

The impressive results of the study will now see COPD patients suffering from a serious attach from the disease discharged from hospitals to long term care facilities where they would be put on Dr. Kiongera's 8 weeks IPR program, then discharged further to their homes where they can continue to enjoy a much improved and longer life together with their families.

Although the study was limited by the small sample number of the patients willing to take part, largely due to difficulty in recruitment attributed to fear of exercise among acute patients discharged from hospitals after a COPD attack, the study was nevertheless hailed as a train blazer in the still under researched field.

The study findings also suggested that there may have been a lack of training among nurses and healthcare providers in managing symptoms in the older age groups. However, with the new study, Gerontological nurses should be able to address the education and self care management issues associated with COPD attacks.

Dr. Kiongera added that the study can be replicated by healthcare providers across the African continent and the developing world where COPD prevalence studies are nonexistent but masses continue to suffer from COPD symptoms, largely thought to be caused by air pollution.

"African can borrow this to incorporate the integration of the IPR into the healthcare delivery systems, from the hospitals to step-down facilities to the patient's private home."

He thanked Dr. Houde for assisting him conduct the study and hoped that other people may find areas where they can improve on it for better outcomes for COPD patients.

The full study can be accessed online as published by the nursing journal at:

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Ajabu Africa News


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