Lagos – A chest physician, Dr Adebayo Otukoya, has said that the high cost of drugs, poor adherence to instructions and ignorance aree some major challenges facing the management of Asthma in Nigeria.
Otukoya, who practises at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
The physician spoke against the backdrop of the 2016 World Asthma Day, with the theme: “You Can Control Your Asthma.’’
“There are challenges; the drugs are available; one thing is for the drugs to be available another thing is for it to be affordable.
“Another challenge is most people don’t adhere to instructions and some of them don’t even know how to use the inhaler properly.
“They have different types of inhaler; you have the long acting inhaler, we have the short acting ones.
“The long acting one you take it morning and night, most people don’t know how to use it, so that is a challenge on its own.
“Of course the triggers, the weather, the dust, the environmental pollution also constitute to the challenges we are facing.
“If asthma is not well managed, the major fear is death, because once the airway is obstructed, the person is not going to breathe in.
“He is not going to be able to exchange adequate amount of oxygen; if you don’t have oxygen to suck up electrons, it is like suffocating somebody; that is the complication.”
The physician said that asthma was very common in Nigeria and occurred in both children and adults.
He said that there were no data available to show how widespread the condition was in the country.
Otukoya said, however, that for every 10 new respiratory cases seen at the respiratory clinic, at least, between seven and eight of them would be asthma.
“The government has a role to play; they need to create more awareness about asthma.
“There should be a special programme by the Federal Government to actually enlighten people on asthma and how it can be managed.
“If the government can show interest in promoting management of asthma in Nigeria, it is a big thing; At least 10 million Nigerians develop asthma, minimum.
“Then make the drugs cheaper; it is the government that can do that; if the government can come in, in that area and make these drugs cheaper and more readily available.
“Then the government can also teach inhaler techniques; then the government can also monitor progress of asthma.