As Nigeria, on May 7, joined the rest of the world to mark the 2013 World Asthma Day, experts have unanimously asserted that asthmatics can live their normal lives without experiencing frequent crisis, if they always take their inhalers along with them.
The experts who spoke at a symposium organised by the Elias Nelson Oyedokun Foundation, ENOF, a foundation established in the year 2012, in memory of late Nelson Oyedokun, a 13-year-year-old boy who died from asthma, said asthma is one of the conditions that can be easily managed if the suffers comply with the rules of the condition, by taking their inhalers along with them always to control any attack.
Speaking on the theme for this year’s world asthma day being: “You Can Control Your Asthma,” the commissioner for health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris said asthma deaths are ultimate tragic evidence of uncontrolled asthma and these were mostly preventable if control measures are effectively instituted.
The commissioner, who was represented by Dr. Jemilade Longe, director of disease control, for health in Lagos has also urged parents and guardians to cooperate with healthcare professionals on improved knowledge, awareness and management of childhood asthma to check the chronic condition that is most commonly responsible for absence of pupils from schools across the federation.
He also called on both the public and private sectors to create a conducive work environment devoid of sensitisers that could trigger occupational asthma, as well as contribute to already high incidence of asthma in Nigeria.
Also, operators of companies dealing in strong chemicals that can trigger asthma in adults have also been advised to ensure adequate protection of their staff to prevent them from developing the condition.
According to the commissioner, the prevalence of asthma is increasing throughout the world, especially as communities adopt western lifestyles and become urbanised. “An estimated 300 million people worldwide have asthma according to the Global Burden of Asthma Report, a compilation of public data on the prevalence and impact of asthma around the world. “Children constitute a reasonable percentage of those afflicted”.
Medical Director of Massey Children Hospital, Dr. Abieyuwa Emokpae while noting that strong chemicals like paints can trigger asthma in adults, advised persons at risk of asthma to avoid strong fume, perfume, insecticide, mentholatum, smoke, among others.
In his presentation, a professor of paediatrics, James Renner advised parents to first get a proper diagnosis of asthma and prevent living in denial of the condition.
Secondly, he noted that affected persons should stick to the health plan regarding when to use drug and when not to use the drug. “They should know which drug to use and for what situation. There should be no fears for mother to manage asthmatic children,” said Renner.
In her remarks, Lola Ilaka and founder of the ENOF said the objective of the organisation is to create awareness about asthma and to touch lives, adding that ENOF will train health care providers on improved asthma care and create avenue for people to learn about asthma.