As part of activities to mark this year’s World Asthma Day, themed “You Can Control Your Asthma”, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Ltd, a leading research-based pharmaceutical company, recently lent its support to the Elias Nelson Oyedokun Foundation, (ENOF) in raising awareness about the disease and how it can be controlled.
Speaking at a symposium to mark the day, Dr. Omolabake Okunubi, Medical Science Liaison, GSK Nigeria, stated that, until recently, awareness in Nigeria about Asthma was relatively low and, as a result, people were not aware that the disease could be controlled. According to her, even though there is no cure for Asthma, it can be effectively controlled.
In her words: “In line with our commitment at GSK to improve the quality of human life, we aim to create as much disease awareness as possible. We do this in partnership with health organisations, government organisations and non-government organisations such as the Elias Nelson Oyedokun Foundation (ENOF). This partnership with ENOF will help us increase people’s awareness on the burden of Asthma in Nigeria and how it can be controlled.”
She added that GSK has also taken a step further to ensure that medication for the control of Asthma is easily accessible and affordable for all. “We understand the cost implication required in the treatment and control of Asthma and that is why we have rolled out medications that are affordable, so that many more patients suffering from the disease can have access to quality medication. We recommend that patients visit their physicians for appropriate assessment.”
With more than 300 million people affected by Asthma around the world, health experts say awareness about the disease needs to be increased and sustained. They also posit that with the right treatment, most of the people affected by the disease can control their Asthma.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterised by recurrent breathing problems and symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing.
Delivering a presentation titled “Asthma in School Children”, Dr Cecilia Abimbola Mabogunje, a Consultant Pediatrician with Massey Street Children Hospital stated that schools need to develop a partnership in Asthma management.
According to her, there should be a management plan tailored specifically for each child suffering from Asthma such that they are adequately catered for when there is an attack.
“Schools need to be educated and empowered to help a child with Asthma. It is not a death sentence, it can be controlled. There should be a rescue plan in place for acute episode,” she stated.
On her part, Barrister Lola Ilaka, President, ENOF, said asthma deaths are ultimate tragic evidence of uncontrolled asthma and these were mostly preventable if control measures are effectively instituted.
She said the objective of the organization is to create awareness about asthma and to touch lives, adding that ENOF has taken it upon itself to train schools on improved asthma care and create avenue for teachers and caregivers in school to learn about asthma
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