Pediatric asthma has been well researched and actively managed in Southern Africa for many years. From the
earliest study of asthma prevalence in 1979 revealing a significant rural – urban asthma gradient to more recent studies
suggesting that asthma now abounds in all population and socio-economic groups, Southern Africa has been the subject of
a significant number of publications relating to asthma prevalence, etiologies or associations and treatment guidelines.
Asthma is now present in 20% of school-children across Southern Africa, but may not have the same etiological factors
commonly seen in the West. Southern Africa has areas with a high asthma prevalence, areas with amongst the highest
mortality in the world and similar problems to first-world countries with regard to morbidity and cost of disease. Guidelines
for asthma management published from South Africa highlight the importance of aiming for complete asthma control
and avoiding morbidity, exacerbations and mortality.