10 WAYS TO WIN THE WAR AGAINST ASTHMA
by FRANCIS OKOYE
Asthma affects more than 300 million people world wide. Although Asthma cannot be cured, it can be treated and controlled. Good Asthma control means no or very minimal symptoms, and a low risk of Asthma attacks or other poor outcomes. More importantly, good Asthma control means, a person can live life normally.
People with Asthma can live normal lives, if their asthma is managed properly. But low awareness, health systems challenges and inaccessible Asthma care are major factors that contribute towards poor management of Asthma, adding to avoidable emergency hospitalization at times too.
Citizen news services CNS recently organized a webinar for media in lead up to world Asthma day 2017.according to Shoubla Shokla, managing Editor CNS and moderator of the webinar ”we have to reduce premature death caused by NCDs including Asthma by 1/3 by 2030 , we have to step up the fight against Asthma. Asthma deaths will increase in the next 10 years, if urgent action is not taken”
Experts at the webinar include Dr Kevin Mortimer, of dept of respiratory medicine, Liverpool school of medicine, Uk and honorary lecturer Malawi college of medicine. Prof Surya Kant, head of respiratory medicine department, King George’s medical University, and national president, Indian chest society.
Also Chakatip Kiatduriyakul,a finance expert from Northern Thailand who shared her personal experience of living normally with asthma and managing it.
Here .we have gathered from the webinar 10 ways to win the war against Asthma.
1. HOUSEHOLD POLLUTION-Chakatip reveals that dust, heat and smoke as found in households, can even make someone develop Asthma symptoms, when such symptoms had stopped several years back. Her advice” live in a clean environment, free from dust-Throw away or donate unused stuff” to avoid Asthma symptoms developing.
2. INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION-Industrial pollution is one key way of the spread of Asthma. Legislation on industrial pollution is ideal, so that pollution can be managed and minimized to cause less harm-lots of smoke in her city, led Chaka tip to develop symptoms of asthma again.
3. APPROACH TO ASTHMA MANAGEMENT
According to the experts,the 6 D approach to Asthma management is recommended .first, Doctor-who knows how to deal with Asthma, secondly, Diagnosis-Doctor must be able to make the right diagnosis using the right tools. Thirdly ,Drug/dosage-Doctor must apply the right drug and dosage. fourth Device-Doctor must recommend the right device. fifth, Deliberation-Doctor must deliberate with patient on what is best for Asthma management. Sixth, Adherence-The patient must adhere to treatment.
4. GETTING ASTHMA-Knowing the non modifiable and modifiable factors for Asthma can help
someone get over the disease .Non modifiable are age, gender, atrophy ,family, history and genetics, while modifiable are tobacco fuel, occupation ,infection and obesity.
5. FINDING GOLD STANDARDS DIAGNOSIS-Asthma is a neglected tropical Diseaes.One of the commonest NCDs and has no gold standard diagnosis. Prof Kant list Asthma Diagnosis as followsi(i)Characteristics history (ii)Physical exam (iii)Haemogram(iv)Chest x-ray(v)X rays PNS(vi)Spirometry
6. AVALIABLITY OF INHALERS: Global Initiative for Asthma GINA works for SDG No3, to achieve universal Health coverage target to reduce deaths, as 1 in 20 people are asthmatic, 250,000 die annually from a Asthma. Some have asthma that cannot be controlled, because preventer, reliever, inhaler steroids cannot reach the poor. Prevention of death from asthma depend s on availability of inhalers. The Global Asthma report 2014 says Asthma is a major global health problem. This has to change. People with Asthma cannot live a normal life due to lack of information around Asthma.
7. ACCESS TO BASIC HEALTHCARE: Access to basic Healthcare will help to win the war against Asthma; As Asthma has been identified by experts as a disease of poverty.
They should be also Quality Assured medicine for Asthma like in TB.care.
8. MEDIA: Dr. Kevin Mortimer advocates that Basic maintenance should be in place, together with information on Asthma, this is were the media should come in.
9. COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION: Little is being done in terms of community mobilization on Asthma, Creating awareness, information on care, treatment and management at the rural level is what should be targeted now by CSO and NGOS and Health care providers
10. AUTOMOBILE POLLUTION: Automobile makers should work more on reducing pollution from automobiles; this will in turn reduce cases of Asthma worldwide.