Mrs Chisa Nosamiefam, Co-founder, Labalaba Foundation, an NGO, on Friday called for aggressive awareness and advocacy to make a difference for the people affected by Lupus in Nigeria.
Lupus is a non contiguous, non cancerous disease that can damage any part of the body.
Nosamiefam made the call at a health symposium organised by the foundation in collaboration with Rhematology and Dermatology Clinics of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
The symposium with the theme: ‘Lupus Knows No Boundaries, Anyone, Any Organ, Anywhere,” was organised to commemorate the World Lupus Day.
“Lupus also known as Systematic Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions worldwide.
“More than 90 percent of people with Lupus are women and majority are diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 44 years, with women of African descent especially at risk.
“In lupus, the immune system which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs such as kidney, brain, heart, skin and joints,“ she said.
According to her, the prevalence of SLE was between 0.02 per cent and 0.15 percent, and incidence and prevalence is two to three times in Africans and Asians than in Caucasians.
“The epidemiology of lupus in Nigeria and Africa is largely undetermined and the perception persist that the incidence is very low.
“A recent study found that it has become one of the top causes of death in young women between the ages of 15 and 24 years.
“This can be attributed to lack of societal awareness, therefore the awareness efforts of Nigeria must become more aggressive,“ she said.
Also speaking, Prof. Femi Adelowo, a consultant rheumatologist, said that there was need for an aggressive awareness on lupus in the country.