Out of pocket expenses still a barrier to asthma therapy
In Nigeria, the cost of asthma medicines is not subsidised. For people with asthma this results in catastrophic costs to purchase asthma medicines.
High prevalence and poor diagnosis
Asthma in Nigeria is an important NCD. One multi-centre study found a high prevalence of wheeze in over 20,000 children and adults. With a predicted population of over 13 million people with asthma in Nigeria, adults over 45 years carry the highest burden of the prevalence of wheeze in the past 12 months at 15%. Underdiagnosis of asthma remains a challenge with only 4% of people with asthma having been diagnosed by a physician.
There have been new developments in asthma treatment guidelines with the introduction of the use of low dose inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) to be taken whenever short acting β2-agonist is used at Step 1 (mild asthma).
As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has affected all countries, patients’ clinic attendance has been significantly impacted as, unlike in high-income countries, tele-consultations have not been feasible in most instances. Lack of affordable medicines, availability and disparities in healthcare remain a challenge. One study found that only 23% of publicly funded pharmacies, compared to 75% of private pharmacies, had recommended ICS containing inhalers on site (see chapter 15).