GSK Pharmaceuticals Nigeria is partnering Nigerian doctors to battle the scourge of asthma in the country. They demonstrated this recently with the launch of the National Asthma Insight and Reality (AIR) Study.
This research initiative is a step further in GSK’s commitment to investing in research and providing access to quality healthcare to the Nigerian patient. It also aligns with Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth plan, which focuses on increasing local research. The objective of the study is to determine the prevalence and severity of asthma, the level of asthma control and the state of asthma management in the country.
Speaking at the contract signing ceremony for the Asthma Insight Reality Study in Lagos, Obianuju Ozeh, senior lecturer/consultant pulmonologist, College of Medicine, University of Lagos and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, described Asthma as a high burden in Nigeria.
“The number of persons with asthma in Nigeria has increased over time. Asthma was described as rare in the early 70s but now about 10% of Nigerians are estimated to have asthma. In addition to this, over half of the persons with asthma have poor asthma control, it is therefore imperative to develop a study that will help to improve the management of the disease,” Ozeh said.
Explaining the mode of operation that the study will employ, Ozeh, who is also the lead researcher on the study, said “There will be nine other researchers working on this study and we will conduct the study in five cities and five centres across Nigeria. We plan to recruit a minimum of 5,000 households, where we will identify Asthma patients who will be interviewed on their level of control and factors associated with their Asthma. So this study is going to be a representative sample of Nigeria, because it’s not just in one city but rather five cities in five geo-political zones in Nigeria”.
Commenting on GSK’s commitment to developing research capabilities in the Nigerian healthcare space, she said, “By supporting this study, GSK has demonstrated their commitment to partnering with the Nigerian Ministry of Health in improving and promoting research capabilities among Nigerians. GSK recognises that diseases are affected by social or cultural factors.
“Therefore, it is relevant to provide local data from every region with regards to every disease and that will promote appropriate management. GSK through this study will provide data that enables healthcare providers to properly manage Asthma in Nigeria”.
Restating GSK’s commitment to providing suitable healthcare and investment in disease areas, the managing director, GlaxoSmithkline Pharmaceuticals Nigeria, Bhushan Akshikar, assured the audience that the company will continue to support relevant initiatives and innovations that help save lives and fight diseases.
“The Asthma Insight Reality Study is an innovation that we are proud to support, our focus is to create value by researching and manufacturing innovative products, making them as widely accessible as possible to countries at all levels of income and development,” he said.
Explaining the rationale behind GSK Pharma’s support, Communication & Government Affairs Director (Pharmaceuticals), West and Central Africa, Omongiade Ehighebolo, disclosed that the company’s intent is to grow local knowledge and capabilities as the leading science based company in Nigeria “it is important that we invest significantly in local research, especially in line with the recently released economic recovery and growth plan that places great premium on research” he concluded.