Asthma kills 250,000 yearly, 20m Nigerians live with ailment


•400m people at risk, as thoracic society seeks subsidy on drugs
As the World Asthma Day is marked tomorrow, medical experts have urged the Federal Government to subsidise medications on the ailment and create specialised centres to manage it.

The international day is marked to improve asthma awareness and care around the world. The theme of this year’s event is “You Can Control Your Asthma.”

A Professor of Medicine and Consultant Chest physician, Gregory Efosa Erhabor, made the call in an exclusive interview with The Guardian at the weekend.

He disclosed that asthma kills about 250,000 people yearly, adding that over 400 million would be prone to the condition by 2025.

Erhabor, who spoke under the aegis of the Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS), urged the Federal Government to support organisations that were involved in its management.

He stressed that anecdotal evidence showed that 15 to 20 million people suffer from asthma, stating that it had become a burden to families because it was still under-diagnosed

The physician, who is also the founder and project director of Asthma and Chest Care Foundation (ACCF), said the NTS would launch its first asthma guideline tomorrow.

He said the launch became necessary due to the absence of a guideline, which has made its management difficult.

He urged the Federal Government to support the NTS to ensure that the guideline is successfully launched and distributed across the country.

Erhabor disclosed that the President of the NTS, Prof. Etete Peters would soon inaugurate some committees to extend the scope to other diseases like pneumonia, tuberculosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

The chest physician told The Guardian: “The reason the ailment has been widespread is the lack of understanding of the pathophysiology of the condition. The basic pathology in asthma is inflammation of the airways and the result is bronchial obstruction.

“Bronchial obstruction is the expression of the inflammation clinically, but most doctors concentrate on the expression of the disease rather than the actual cause.”

He urged asthmatics to study their own asthma to know “what triggers the attacks and partner their physicians towards managing them,” he said.


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