A Consultant Chest Physician, Prof Gregory Erhabor, yesterday, called on government and private organisations to create specialised centres for the management of asthma and the training of health professionals.
Erhabor, who is Founder and Project Director, Asthma and Chest Care Foundation (ACCF), said this at a Continuing Medical Education and Training of Health Practitioners to mark the 2018 World Asthma Day in Lagos.
He said that most health professionals needed more training on the disease because some of them concentrated more on the session of the disease rather than the actual cause.
“Asthma is a heterogeneous disease, usually characterised by chronic inflammation of the airways and some of the symptoms and risk factors include history of respiratory symptoms such as wheeze, shortness of breath.
“Others include chest tightness and cough that vary over time and intensity, as well as variable respiratory airflow limitations.
“Global prevalence of asthma patients vary from one to 18 per cent of the population which implies that it affects 353 million people worldwide.
“According to researches, by 2025 it will rise to 400 million people suffering from asthma worldwide.
“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 15 million Nigerians are suffering from asthma,” Erhabor said.
The professor said that an increased number of people were suffering from asthma because most of asthma drugs are very expensive.
“This is where government needs to come in by assisting to subsidise asthma drugs in the country,” Erhabor urged.
He, however, recommended that mothers should always practice exclusive breastfeeding because it reduced the chances of children having the disease.
Also, Adenike Arawomo, Senior Registrar, Department of Internal Medicine, Ladoke Akintola Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, said that step care approach was very important in asthma control.
She said that the approach could be achieved by assessing the risk of observation in patients, setting questionnaires for patients.
“Health care providers need to monitor and know how their patients uses their medication.
“Asthma control can also be achieved when the patients avoid what triggers asthma; such triggers include allergens, environmental factors and exercise.
“Asthma patients need to always stay healthy and maintain a stress free lifestyle to be able to control the disease,” she said.
She urged governments to create an enabling environment for asthma patients by subsidising their drugs, treatment and providing necessary equipment to all government hospitals.
“Governments and media organisations need to help create more awareness on asthma control in the country because of stigmatization.
“Some patients are stigmatized of which has made them not to use their inhaler regularly or even hide when using it.
Also, Dr Michelle Dania, a Consultant Physician and Pulmonologist, advised people to keep their houses clean to avoid cockroaches, molds because they trigger asthma attacks.
Dania, who works at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Lagos, described a trigger as something that worsens asthma or causes attack.
According to her, trigger factors that cause asthma include: allergens, irritants, emotions,strong odours, household cleaners, chemical-industrial or occupational exposure to chemicals.
“Some females have it triggered after cooking in the kitchen, while some children begin to pant after an exercise session or running.
“Those living with asthma should avoid things that trigger symptoms.
“Asthma is a disease that has different components which are genetic and environmental factors,” Dania said.
She advised people to keep away from animals that have feathers, furs and pet animals to avoid asthma attack.
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