Bwaila Rotary Club president Richard Dilawo has asked government to promote the fight against rheumatoid arthritis, saying a number of people are suffering from the illness.
The club organised several activities from Thursday to Saturday to raise awareness about the disease and support the victims.
The activities included media briefings and hiking Senga hills in Salima.
In his remarks, Dilawo said many people are not aware of the disease; hence, asked government to intensify awareness campaigns.
He said that government should put the medicine for treating the disease among the list of essential drugs and ensure that the country has rheumatologists to help treat the ailment.
“The disease mainly affects joints and in severe cases attacks internal organs.
“It affects a person’s ability to work and leads to deformities,” said Dilawo.
On his part, Asamala Health Services internal medicine specialist Dr Isaac Chirwa said there was need for people to have information about rheumatoid so that that they can go for treatment.
Ministry of Health head of non-communicable diseases and mental health Jonathan Chiwanda agreed with Dilawo on the need to intensify awareness about the disease to ensure that people access treatment.
He said there are a number of people with the disease and some who are not aware of it.
Said Chiwanda: “People should seek medical attention in the early stages of the disease to avoid complications.
“In certain cases, the disease leads to death. In 2018, the country recorded 22 deaths from rheumatoid attacks.”
Rheumatoid arthritis is chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet