Stakeholders to Discuss Asthma, Environment, Governance

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All is now set for the 2019 Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Annual National Asthma Conference themed Better Breathing, Better Living: The Role of the Environment and Governance taking place on Tuesday, June 18, at the Oaklands Hotel in Enugu, Nigeria.

The event is organised by the Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation (ACUF) and according a statement, participants will discuss the linkages between the environment and governance and its impact on health management, as well as make policy recommendations on ways to ‘deal’ with the identified challenges.

The Board Chairman of ACUF, Dr Chiwuike Uba, has said that the annual national asthma conference “is to throw more light on the role of the environment and governance on the management of respiratory diseases; especially, asthma”. Several persons die daily from air pollution-related diseases, including asthma complications.

He revealed that the theme of the conference, Better Breathing, Better Living: The Role of the Environment and Governance is unique and coming at the right time, because “we are faced with challenges ranging from being rated as one the most polluted countries in the word to a country grappling with a lot of problems associated with other governance issues”.

He added that, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution is responsible for more than 12 million deaths per year, that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets —SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 6 (Clean water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable clean energy), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 16 (Peace, Security and Strong Institutions) is dependent on the environment and governance outcomes.

“The Annual Conference is a platform to discuss national issues, especially health and related matters in an evidence-based approach. The workshop provides policy alternatives and action plan on how to solve the identified challenges because most diseases are associated with environmental and governance issues. Therefore, the 2019 conference will look at issues related to our environmental governance and other governance issues, as they affect health management in Nigeria.

“Governance is core to a sustainable environment and development. We recognize that Nigeria’s economy will be improved if the environment provides better breathing and people live a healthy life with guaranteed access to quality and affordable health care. So, for a conference of this nature, you need people who have the passion and genuinely working for the progress, prosperity, and renaissance of our dear country, Nigeria,” he said.

Uba further revealed that collaborators like Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS), the Knowledge and Policy Management Initiative (KAPOMI) and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance, Nigeria are partners in the conference, even as he said that the choice of keynote and experts for the conference is “based on their passion for good governance, inclusiveness, access to quality and affordable healthcare and their expertise in the areas they would be speaking on”.

He named some of the key speakers at the Conference to include Nigeria’s former Minister for Health – Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu who will be the chairman of the Conference; Dr. Oby Ezekwesili –the former World Bank Vice-President and Nigeria’s former Education Minister and presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) in the 2019 general elections; renowned public policy expert, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, Consultant Public Health Physician, Prof. Benjamin Uzochukwu, Consultant Respiratory and Chest Physician, Prof. Gregory Efosa Emerhbor, administrator and health professional, Prof. Rowland Ndoma-Egba, Ademola H. Adigun, Dr. Adaeze Ayuk, Dr. Ifediora Amobi, Larry Oguego, among other national and international experts.

Dr. Uba also called for a partnership to develop more strategic sources of funding in order to ensure sustainable long-term programming and improve the quality of life of people, saying that, “painfully, we are unable to do all that we propose to do; as a result of financial challenges. It is our hope that people will begin to support the Foundation financially by making donations and getting involved in fundraising for ACUF. We indeed need financial support.”

“We also wish to appreciate individuals and some corporate organizations that provided one form of support or the other to the Foundation; especially, Oaklands Hotel & Amusement Park, Little Lung Africa (LLA), Blueprint Newspapers, Oracle Newspaper,” he said.

ACUF was founded in 2016, in memory of Mrs Amaka Uba, who died of asthma complications in 2016 with the vision of a society with better breathing, better living, and a happier, united and prosperous people. In achieving its mission of improving the quality of life of people, it carries out its objectives through the facilitation of evidence-based socio-economic research, policy dialogues/advocacy, training and education, and networking.

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