Kenya creates partnership to support provision of asthma services

Written By: Claire Wanja

Asthma is a major noncommunicable disease (NCD), affecting both children and adults.

To commemorate World Asthma Day, the Ministry of Health has partnered with stakeholders in health including the Respiratory Society of Kenya and Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, to create a partnership that will support the provision of asthma services to all people with asthma in Kenya.

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As a gesture of goodwill to the Government and the people of Kenya, Ministry of Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr. Rashid Aman says AstraZeneca are donating 300 nebulizer units and 300 nebulization stations, to be availed to health institutions across the country.

These are used in easing the symptoms in Asthma patients

Speaking on Wednesday at the Kenyatta National Hospital during the commemoration of the World Asthma Day as well as the World Hand Hygiene Day, Aman says the support under the auspices of AstraZeneca’s Africa PUMUA Initiative aims at improving paediatric and adult asthma management across Africa, as part of the company’s commitment to implement innovative approaches, to strengthen healthcare systems, and broaden patient access to quality asthma care.

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Kagwe at the same time urged all Kenyans to utilize the asthma technologies provided to alleviate their condition and minimize suffering from the chronic illness.

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” As we mark the Asthma day during the Month of May every year, we endeavour to focus on educating people and making them aware of symptoms, precautions, treatments, and prevention of asthma. In this regard, we are looking forward to adopting the latest technologies for the diagnosis of asthma in addition to bringing services closer to the people. ” He added

Kagwe noted that this year COVID-19 pandemic is creating concern and uncertainty for many people around the globe, including those with asthma.

“While more research needs to be done, it appears that people with uncontrolled asthma are at risk of severe COVID-19. Avoiding uncontrolled asthma is therefore very important during the period of the pandemic.” He said

“Because of the potential of an increased severity of co-existing COVID-19 disease, people with asthma should at all times adhere to measures to prevent being infected with the corona virus disease, by observing social and physical distancing, as well as correctly wearing face masks. Our advice to people diagnosed with asthma is, they should continue with asthma treatment as prescribed and develop communication channels with their health care providers for advice on their asthma care and treatment. They should also seek medical assistance promptly.” Urged the CAS

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Rashid Aman briefing the media on update of Covid-19 at Kenyatta National Hospital .and confirmed that 489 persons tested positive in the Country. Present are officials from the AstraZeneca led by Barbara Nel the Company President for the African cluster among others and later received a donation of equipment to Kenyatta National Hospital. Photo NICHOLAS NTHENGE

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that asthma is of major public health importance. According to WHO, it is estimated that more than 339 million people had Asthma globally, and there were 417,918 deaths due to asthma at the global level in 2016.

In Kenya, it is estimated that 10% of the population (or 4.5 million people) suffer from asthma.

This year’s World Asthma Day theme is ‘uncovering misconceptions about asthma”.

Aman says the Ministry of Health is standing with patients, families, advocates, researchers, and health care professionals to raise awareness about this common chronic respiratory disease, the people it affects, and the available interventions and biomedical research being undertaken to prevent, care and treat it.

” Over the years World Asthma Day has grown significantly and is now considered the most important asthma awareness-raising event in the world. This year’s theme, provides a call to action to address widely held myths and misconceptions concerning the disease that prevent persons with asthma, from enjoying optimal benefit from the major advances, that have been made in the care and treatment of this condition.” Said Aman

“As I earlier stated, today we are also marking the World Hand Hygiene Day. The big question is who should perform Hand Hygiene? Hand hygiene must be performed by everybody for instance food handlers, healthcare workers, caregivers, patients and the visitors caring for them among others. During this period of the pandemic, you will recall that we have over emphasized the need for people to wash their hands with soap and water, as one of our containment measures against the Covid-19 disease. Wearing of gloves can in no way be a substitute for hand cleansing. If gloves are worn, they must always be changed between one patient and the next, and every time they are removed, one’s hands must be cleansed.” He added

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Asthma is a chronic lung disease that is characterized by persistent or recurrent symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.

Kagwe said when the disease is uncontrolled it can lead to attacks requiring emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Sometimes these asthma attacks can be fatal. Asthma therefore has important social and economic consequences.

Aman was joined by officials from AstraZeneca led by Barbara Nel the Company President for the African Cluster who donated equipment to Kenyatta National Hospital.



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