Sheku Wai, President Asthma and Allergy Foundation of West Africa-Gambia (AAFWA) have urged members of the society to be more responsive to the plight of asthma patients.
As the World observes Asthma Awareness Month, he said AAFWA-Gambia wanted to mobilize asthma and allergy patients in The Gambia to join the rest of the World in elaborately observing the event, but unfortunately, it was unable to do so due to financial constraints.
He explained that World Asthma Day and Month focuses on educating the public about the most effective ways of controlling and treating asthma.
“We wanted to observe the 2023 Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month in The Gambia with a series of activities among them an Asthma and Allergy Solidarity March, Asthma Education Seminar on World Asthma Day proper, a health fair to conduct lung function tests for people throughout May, the tests may include Spirometry; Peak Flow; Methacholine Challenge, Imaging Tests, Allergy Testing, Nitric Oxide Test,” he said,
The AAFWA President expressed gratitude to the Gambia Ministry of Health for collaborating with his Foundation in principle since 2021, adding that though they are yet to secure funding from within or outside The Gambia, the collaboration has been a morale booster for asthma patients in the country.
Wai further explained that AAFWA serves as a platform for people with asthma and allergies to come together and work for their collective interest as well as offer voluntary medical services to people with asthma and allergies and assist them to be healthy, become proactive, productive, and self-reliant within the society.
“We educate asthma patients on how to treat and control asthma, for example, on what to do if they have an attack while not having an inhaler with them then, and work to ensure that medication and medical equipment like inhalers and nebulizers are readily available to people with asthma. We also plan to identify, plan and manage community projects aimed at promoting quality of life and the socio-economic welfare of people with asthma and allergies, ensure a better indoor environment devoid of pollution in schools and workplaces, as well as raise awareness about important allergy-friendly features,” he said.
The AAFWA president also assured that the foundation will regularly update data on the true prevalence of asthma in The Gambia so that government becomes aware of the implications of this increasing disease burden and investigate the relative importance of underlying risk factors such as rising urbanization in their policy and health planning responses to this challenge.