By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The Global Initiative for Asthma, GINA, the World Health Organization, WHO, and the Nigerian Thoracic Society, NTS, have called on world leaders to increase health budget in order to enhance access of their citizens to effective and quality medications, particularly, asthma patients.
The bodies made the call on Tuesday, in commemoration of the 2023 annual World Asthma Day, WAD with the theme: “Asthma care for all”.
Meanwhile, approximately 13 million people are suffering from asthma, which is among the highest in Africa (based on a population survey in Nigeria).
The event is celebrated globally on the first Tuesday in the month of May.
The aim of this annual event is to raise awareness of asthma and how it affects sufferers.
The day aims to raise support for asthma sufferers and their families.
Activities for World Asthma Day usually include free screenings for asthma, media advertising, talks, health education, community outreaches, and sponsored events.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes breathing difficulties and affects sufferers to varying degrees.
It is caused by inflammation and swelling of the bronchial tubes, sometimes in reaction to allergens, exercise, stress or changes in temperature.
The disease is not curable but can be adequately controlled to allow the sufferer lead a virtually normal life.
In all cases, it is extremely important to identify and avoid triggers.
Asthma is controlled by prevention medication for chronic symptoms and relief medication for symptom flare-ups.
Prof P. Ele, President, NTS, in a statement, stressed that education and understanding are key to effective control of asthma which can be fatal if not managed properly.
According to him, “World Asthma Day educates and raises awareness of the condition in the hope of relieving suffering and reducing deaths.
“Most of the burden of asthma morbidity and mortality occurs in resource poor countries.
“The burden of disease in Nigeria, with approximately 13 million sufferers, is among the highest in Africa (based
on a population survey in Nigeria).
Ale said, the theme for this year ,”is a call to all nations to design, promote and implement effective and affordable asthma care programmes that ensure no citizen is denied care.”
He continued, “There are still important gaps in asthma care that have continued to frustrate the attainment of universal goals of reducing preventable suffering as well as the huge costs incurred by
treating uncontrolled or very poorly controlled asthma.
“Some of the important gaps include those in communication and education provided for asthma sufferers, between scientific evidence and actual delivery of care for people with asthma, between prescribing inhalers and monitoring adherence and the client’s ability to use the various devices among others.
“We salute all the healthcare workers and scientist that are working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of this disorder on the general population.
“We also want to use this opportunity to encourage asthma patients to rely on information from their healthcare providers and continue to take their medications regularly and avoid triggers.
“They should always maintain proper cough etiquette. Remember to
keep safe and stay healthy.”