Under the umbrella body of the Nigerian Thoracic Society, experts has developed a guideline for Asthma management in Nigeria to ensure that practitioners adopt the minimum level of standards required in treatment to reduce asthma related deaths and morbidity in the country.
The Nigerian Thoracic Society is professionals involved in respiratory care and over the years we have been committed to regular and continuous update of our members and health workers in general on the management of airways diseases including asthma.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic lung diseases affecting approximately 400 million people worldwide. In Nigeria about 15million people may have asthma based on numerous studies. However with increasing urbanisation and uptake of western lifestyle it is projected that developing countries may have rising incidence of asthma.
World Asthma Day 2019 theme is “STOP for Asthma”. The STOP in the theme stands for Symptom evaluation, Test response, Observe and assesses and proceeds to adjust treatment. This is unique as it addresses everyone and highlights key steps to keep asthma under control. Importantly the theme underscores the importance of adequate protocol and guideline in asthma management.
According to Peters Etete, president Nigerian Thoracic Society said the number of people with asthma will grow by more than 100 million by 2025 and in commemoration the 2019 World Asthma Day, celebrated on the 7th of May the guideline developed by the society is a very strategic way to stop Asthma.
“It is a condition that millions of people who have it have to deal with on a daily basis, We are hereby soliciting for improved and better partnerships with relevant stakeholders, ministries of health and other government agencies, individuals and corporate bodies to support this noble cause of providing and building capacities among health workers to implement the recommendations of this guideline,” he said.
Etete added that in line with the global theme this year, we are also calling on government and private sectors to assist in ensuring access to affordable asthma medications.
“We want to request that asthma medications should be covered by the National Health insurance. This will ensure compliance and assist to reduce morbidity from the disease. Provision of basic equipment required for standardised care and management of the disease should also be made available in our hospitals,” he stressed.
However, Studies have shown that the education involving patients, care givers and health care workers goes a long way in reducing the frequency and severity of symptoms. Additionally, it also reduces the huge impact of asthma on quality of life.
Olufemi Adewole, Secretary of Nigerian Thoracic Society said Asthma symptoms mimic many other respiratory and non-respiratory diseases and It is therefore important that a systematic evaluation process is required to ensure proper diagnosis which will help reduce the rate of underdiagnosed and sometimes over-diagnosis.
“The Society has equally been involved in community mobilization, public education on various chest diseases including asthma emphasising the need for optimal asthma control. In order to achieve this, the societies in conjunction with some of our partners have developed Guideline for Asthma Management in Nigeria.”
“This is already published and being disseminated across the country through our members. We have conducted health professional asthma education among General Practitioners in some states of the country,” he stated.
He however, congratulates the global respiratory community, Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) and other partners for organising the occasion of the 2019 World Asthma Day.