‘About 15 million Nigerians are asthmatic’
The President of Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS), Prof. Etete Peters, has said that about 15 million of the country’s population are suffering from asthma, adding that over 400 million people are asthmatic worldwide.
He added that in 2025 the number of people likely to suffer from asthma will be over 100 million people, stressing that it is the most common chronic disease in children.
He disclosed this while speaking with journalists in an address to mark 2016 Asthma Day.Prof. Peters, who is the Chief Medical Director of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital added that he would collaborate with governments at all levels to conduct epidemiological studies to determine the actual burden and treatment of asthma through evidence-based approach.
With the theme, “You can control our asthma,” he posited that the NTS has formulated a National Asthma Guideline, which will help avoid preventable deaths.
“It is typically characterised by recurring respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening. These symptoms are variable and can fluctuate for each individual over time.
“Despite availability of different asthma drugs, a significant number of asthma patients are still limited with their asthma, while a sizeable number still die from the disease.
“An estimated 75 per cent of hospital admissions for asthma and as many as 90 per cent of the deaths are avoidable, Nigeria has lost many gifted and illustrious sons and daughters prematurely due to asthma. This should not be so,” he stated.
According to Peters, in Nigeria alone, about 15 million people may have asthma based on numerous studies and also with increasing urbanisation and uptake of Western lifestyle, adding that, developing countries may have rising incidence of the disease.
He emphasised the need for affordable clean energy sources, adding that household and air pollution are contributory factors not only to asthma attacks, but also to other lung diseases, which have deleterious impact on the lungs of children.