Okon Bassey
The Nigeria Thoracic society (NTS) has raised the alarm over increasing rate of people suffering from Asthma, saying over 15 million Nigerians are living with the disease in the country and 400 million worldwide.
The body noted with concern that one major gap in the asthma care in Nigeria, was the lack of national guideline on its management.
President of the society, Professor Etete Peters, disclosed this weekend during the 2017 World Asthma Day observed in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State which had as its theme: ‘Asthma-Better Air, Better Breathing’.
Peters who is also the Chief Medical Director of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), explained that the prevalence of asthma disease has been on the rise as a result of increasing air pollution and urbanisation.
Air pollution, he said was an important trigger for asthma, adding  that in Nigeria the most common source of air pollution include biomass fumes, cigarette smoke and car exhaust.
“We should wage war against cigarette smoking, provide services to help current smokers quit and prevent initiation of cigarette smoking in our population. Owner 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.”
Speaking on the activities of NTS, he said NTS as an umbrella body of all professionals involved in respiratory care has over the years committed themselves to regular and continuous update of its members and health workers in general on the management of airways diseases including asthma.
According to him, the body has also been involved in community mobilisation and public education on various chest diseases emphasising the need for optimal asthma control.
His words: “this year we are launching the National Asthma Guideline as part of the event to mark the World Asthma Day to ensure that practitioners adopt the minimum level of standard required in the management of the disease to see how such care could be compared to international best practices which will ultimately reduce asthma related cases in our society.
“We therefore solicit the support of government at all levels and other relevant stakeholders in the health sector to support this noble cause of providing and building capacities among healthcare givers to implement the recommendations of the guideline.”