Asthma health care for children is set to come to the front burner as GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Limited has partnered with the Elias Nelson Oyedokun Foundation to raise awareness about asthma management in children.

Medical Science Liaison, GSK Nigeria, Dr. Omolabake Okunubi while speaking at a symposium in Lagos as part of activities marking the 2015 World Asthma Day said until recently, awareness in Nigeria about asthma was relatively low.

Okunubi also said people were largely unaware that the disease could be controlled.

According to her, though there is no cure for asthma, scientific evidence shows that the condition can be effectively controlled, hence the need to educate affected persons and their caregivers on how to manage it.

She further stressed that the initiative aimed to create as much awareness about asthma as possible, adding that GSK has taken a step further to ensure that asthma medications are accessible and affordable for all.

Said Okunubi,

“We understand the cost implication required in the treatment and control of asthma and that is why we have rolled out medications that are affordable, so that patients suffering from the disease can have access to quality medication. We recommend that patients visit their physicians for appropriate assessment,”

Also speaking at the event, Consultant Paediatrician with Massey Street Children Hospital, Dr. Abimbola Mabogunje said there was the need to educate care givers in schools and crèches on the first line of treatment for children living with asthma.

She made this known while delivering a presentation entitled, “Asthma in school children,” pointing out that there should be a management plan tailored specifically for each child suffering from asthma, such that they are adequately catered for when there is an attack.

Mabogunje who said that asthma is not a death sentence, stated that the ailment can be controlled, thus "there should be a rescue plan in place for acute episode.”

While buttressing Okunubi's and Mabogunje's points, ENOF President, Mrs Lola Ilaka, said to prevent deaths from asthma among children, the organisation would train caregivers and teachers in improved asthma care.