From CHUKS EZE, Enugu:
Relevant stakeholders have continued to bemoan high prevalence of asthma cases globally, with Nigeria’s case reportedly, in astronomical rise and expected to plummet into possible catastrophe except drastic measures were taken.
According to informed reports, over 15 million Nigerians are currently suffering from the disease, with a projected rise to a whooping 100 million cases in the next six years – 2025.
Founder and Chairman of the board of Amaka Chiwuike Foundation (ACUF), Chiwuike Uba, in an interview with our correspondent, in Enugu, disclosed that globally, over 300 million individuals were currently suffering from asthma, with over 100million increase by 2025.
He added that except conscious, drastic measures were taken to checkmate the development, that the whole world could go under asthma menace, stressing that statistical estimate had shown that about 14 per cent and 8.6 per cent of the world’s children and young adults had either been diagnosed with asthma or that they were already taking drugs.
Describing the disease as the 14th most prominent disorder in the world, in terms of the extent and duration of disability, Uba pointed out that the burden of asthma was higher for children between the ages of 10 and 14, as well as the elderly between the ages of 75 and 79, respectively.
Uba, who had established ACUF, an asthma awareness and advocacy non-governmental and non-profit organization after he lost his wife to asthma attack, noted that his major worry for Nigeria was lack of official willpower on the part of various government to prioritise the issue.
According to him, as a globalized topical health problem, which usually demanded emergency care, that asthma attack could lead to permanent disability of instant death in the absence of proper help.
He therefore urged various governments to take asthma issue seriously and fashion out urgent proactive policy measures aimed at addressing the issue of asthma menace and management in Nigeria, adding that asthma management was cost intensive and involved direct, indirect and intangible costs, respectively.
Uba also charged Nigerian governments to declare asthma a health priority and invest in asthma-based researches, with a view to developing national action plan to improve asthma management.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS) had also, in in its latest report, in Abuja, corroborated Uba’s declarations, pointing out that based on numerous studies, that over 15 million people were currently suffering from Asthma disease in Nigeria.
On the activities of ACUF, he informed that the organization was set to host the 2019 edition of its annual asthma conference themed, “Better Breathing, Better Living: The Role of the Environment and Governance’. According to him, the event would take place in Enugu on July 18, 2019 and expected to be graced by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and chaired by former minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, among several other resource persons and dignitaries.