The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (MRCG-LSHTM) on Monday, 25 September conducted sensitisation on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) at the Serrekunda Black Market Area, along with free lung function testing and interactive sessions on various aspects of COPD.
The aim of the sensitisation was to educate stakeholders and target groups about the impact of COPD, encourage people to get tested for the disease, and seek medical attention, as part of activities marking World Lung Day.
The MRCG-LSHTM is committed to raise awareness of lung health and combating lung disease, the theme for this year is: “Access to prevention and treatment for all. Leave no one behind.”
COPD refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis or is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lung.
COPD is a common, preventable and treatable disease, with a worldwide prevalence of 10.1% in people aged 40 years or older. COPD is more common in older people, especially those aged 65 years and older. COPD prevalence is highest in the World Health Organization region of the Americas and lowest in the Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions. The pooled global prevalence is 15.7& in men and 9.93% in women.
World Lung Day (WLD) is a dedicated global awareness and action towards better lung health observed on September 25th, every year, globally to celebrate the most recent achievement in lung health.
Dr Olumuyiwa Owolabi, Clinical Coordinator/ Clinician at MRCG-LSHTM, said lung disease is common in our environment and that is why they decided to conduct the sensitisation campaign to increase awareness of COPD to the public to know its existence and preventive measures.
When asked why they selected the Serrekunda Black Market Area, he said that the place is a community that attracts people from various parts of The Gambia even from provinces and neighboring countries who come for business functions. Dembo Sanneh, Assistant Commissioner of Police Kanifing Division, said the initiative is very important because the day provides them with the opportunity to know what causes COPD and also helps them know the preventive measures for avoiding COPD.
He promised to disseminate the information he learned from the session to his fellows, most especially the youth who constitute a greater percentage of smokers in The Gambia.
Mr Garanke Jallow, a beneficiary from Kerr Sering and Yuma Lowe from Old Yundum, expressed gratitude and said they are elated to be part of the beneficiaries of the sensitisation campaign.