THE Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), Prof Etete Peters, has expressed worry over increased cases of asthma among Nigerian population and stressed the need for a holistic action plan to stem the scourge.
Prof.Peters, who doubles as the President of the Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTC), spoke on the matter in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the 2017 World Asthma day, disclosed that over 15 million Nigerian suffers from the disease.
He explained that the prevalence of Asthma disease had been on the rise as a result of increasing air pollution and urbanization.
Asthma, he explained, “is one of the most chronic lung diseases affecting approximately 400 million people worldwide and in Nigeria, about 15million people are affected”.
Prof. Peters disclosed that “studies have shown that the environment do have a huge impact on asthma exacerbation whether from cigarette smoke or pollution within the atmosphere”.
He said “air pollution is an important trigger for asthma, and in Nigeria the most common source of air pollution include biomass fumes, cigarette smoke and car exhaust’’.
Therefore, the CMD warned that ‘’we should wage war against cigarette smoking, provide services to help current smokers quit and prevent initiation of cigarette smoking in our population”.
Besides, he cautioned that ‘’owners of vehicles should use them responsibly and choose to walk shot distances rather than drive in order to make our air cleaner for improved health and better asthma control”.
“Asthma is much more common than we think and we need to see health providers if we have any symptoms of suggestive of asthma. And the good news is that asthma could be well managed and person with a diagnosis can live a normal life.
‘’The key to good health is to take medications as prescribed, avoid all known trigger and promptly seek medical treatment if symptoms persist despite taking prescribed medications”, he stressed.
He disclosed that the Nigeria Thoracic Society as an umbrella body of all professionals involved in respiratory care had over the years, committed itself to regular and continuous update of its members and health workers in general on the management of airways diseases including asthma.
The society he said had also been involved in community mobilization and public education on various chest diseases emphasizing the need for optimal asthma control.