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Press statement by the Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS) marking the 2023 world asthma day (WAD)

The Nigerian Thoracic Society joins other organizations and asthma advocates all over the world to observe the 2023 world asthma day. The event is celebrated globally on the first Tuesday in the month of May. The aim of this annual event is to raise awareness of asthma and how it affects sufferers. The day aims to raise support for asthma sufferers and their families. Activities for World Asthma Day usually includes free screenings for asthma, media advertising, talks, health education, community outreaches, and sponsored events.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease which causes breathing difficulties and affects sufferers to varying degrees. It is caused by inflammation and swelling of the bronchial tubes, sometimes in reaction to allergens, exercise, stress or changes in temperature. The disease is not curable but can be adequately
controlled to allow the sufferer lead a virtually normal life. In all cases it is extremely important to identify and avoid triggers.

Asthma is controlled by prevention medication for chronic symptoms and relief medication for symptom flare-ups. Education and understanding are key to effective control of asthma which can be fatal if not managed properly. World Asthma Day educates and raises awareness of the condition in the hope of relieving suffering and reducing deaths.

Most of the burden of asthma morbidity and mortality occurs in resource poor countries. The burden of disease in Nigeria, with approximately 13 million sufferers, is among the highest in Africa (based on a population survey in Nigeria). The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), the primary driver of this annual event, in collaboration with the WHO, seeks to reduce this burden by encouraging world leaders to ensure that their health budgets provide for access of their citizens to effective and quality medications. The theme for this year, “Asthma care for all” is a call to all nations to design, promote and implement effective and affordable asthma care programmes that ensure no citizen is denied care. There are still important gaps in asthma care that have continued to frustrate the attainment of universal goals of reducing preventable suffering as well as the huge costs incurred by treating uncontrolled or very poorly controlled asthma. Some of the important gaps include those in communication and education provided for asthma sufferers, between scientific evidence and actual delivery of care for people with asthma, between prescribing inhalers and monitoring adherence and the client’s ability to use the various devices etc.

We salute all the healthcare workers and scientist that are working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of this disorder on the general population. We also want to use this opportunity to encourage asthma patients to rely on information from their healthcare providers and continue to take their medications regularly and avoid triggers. They should always maintain proper cough etiquette. Remember to keep safe and stay healthy.

Prof. Prince Ele
National President
Dr. Abiona Odeyemi
Secretary General

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