By Raph Christopher
As Nigerians join the rest of the world to celebrate World Lupus Day (WLD), FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has identified enlightenment campaign or knowledge as a powerful tool that could defeat lupus or any existential challenge.
The Minister stated this at the 2021 World Lupus Day held in the nation’s capital, Abuja organized by the Arise Monalisa Foundation.
She specifically noted that in view of the complexities associated with this silent killer disease, public awareness and the impact that it has on the lives of those who are affected, must be scaled-up.
Aliyu, who described lupus as a common, but often overlooked disease, also lamented that lupus as a chronic autoimmune disease has affected approximately 5 million people globally.
The Minister who was represented by the Ag. Executive Secretary of FCT Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Iwot Ndaeyo, stressed that the singular fact that lupus is one of the most severe comorbidities and could lead to end-stage kidney disease and kidney failure, makes it the more scary.
“The medical difficulties associated with diagnosing and treating a poorly understood disease have negative impact on those with lupus. This is further compounded by a low level of public awareness and the fact that most symptoms of lupus are not visible to others. Collectively, these can lead to a greater emotional burden for patients,” the minister stressed.
She used the occasion to caution against stigmatization of patients, noting that those who recognise lupus as a disease mistakenly believed that it is contagious, and that a poor knowledge like this could lead to unnecessary social stigma for patients with lupus.
While pledging the commitment of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to support any organisation or group aimed at bringing to an end the devastating impact of lupus, she, however, called on critical stakeholders to make lupus visible using every available medium to show the world the many faces of lupus and its impact on patients