World Multiple Sclerosis Day 2022: Roche drives public sensitisation

bab world multiple sclerosis day x
bab world multiple sclerosis day x

By Chinenye Anuforo

Roche Nigeria has reiterated its commitment to create awareness of multiple sclerosis and its incidence in Nigeria.

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The company which hosted media to a special World Multiple Sclerosis Day (World MS

Day) featured a panel

discussion involving Dr. Ladi Hameed, General Manager, Roche Products Nigeria Limited and Dr. Peter Alabi, a Consultant Neurologist at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital.

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Alabi, kicked off the session by educating the media on multiple sclerosis, stressing the value of the commemoration in

raising awareness, driving acceptance and inclusion, and shifting the public consciousness favourably with regards to the condition.

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He said: “Multiple Sclerosis was believed initially to be a condition found amongst white people, particularly those of Northern European descent. However, in recent times more cases are showing up amongst Blacks and Africans in general.”

He added that though the presentation in Africa is fairly recent, the disease can be managed by Neurologists available at any of the Teaching hospitals in the country.

“A Neurologist is able to provide a patient with individualised

management of the symptoms and slow disease progression; as well as advise on home care and support,

depending on the symptoms and signs presented.”

Globally, approximately 2.8 million people are living with Multiple Sclerosis, and 60% of those living with the conditionare women. In Nigeria, an estimated 10,048 people are living with Multiple Sclerosis, and the diagnosis of the

condition remains a stress area, with numerous challenges such as limited access to diagnostic tools, serology

testing, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Other challenges include low disease awareness amongst the public and limited access to medications required to manage the disease.

With a population of over 206 million individuals, Nigeria has only about 80 registered neurologists in the country, a

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disproportionate figure which points to a gross inadequacy of medical specialists with expertise in diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

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Also present at the session, Ladi Hameed, the General Manager, Roche Nigeria spoke about Roche’s history and purpose as well as the company’s long standing role and commitment as a trusted partner in the Nigerian health care

system. He also stated that Roche has expanded its therapeutic areas to include Neurosciences with focal diseases

such as multiple sclerosis. He also emphasised the need for more concerted efforts to be made in achieving the

purpose of World MS Day, highlighting the critical role of relevant stakeholders and partnerships to succeed in delivering better outcomes for MS patients faster.

Hameed said: “Over the years, Roche Products Limited has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening

Nigeria’s healthcare system. Understanding MS disease progression and educating the public on basic symptoms will

lead to timely referrals to specialists in the hospitals and improve the lives of these patients. In addition, working with

Neurologists, the Federal Ministry of Health, diagnostic centres for laboratory testing, imaging, and engaging local

patient support groups will address the unique health care system challenges that disrupt access to MS diagnosis

and its management.”

Additionally, Roche plans to map the MS patients’ journey by identifying data gaps, launching clinical trials to

understand how MS affects a typical African patient. Roche is also willing to collaborate with stakeholders to develop

data registries and analyse these insights as well as work with MS patient groups within the country to reduce the

stigma and increase awareness.

World MS Day is typically observed on May 30 each year and the theme for the year 2022 is CONNECTIONS.

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