BrandArena: Gaviscon Rallies Stakeholders to Explore New Ways of Treating Reflux Disease

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Gaviscon Rallies Stakeholders to Explore New Ways of Treating Reflux Disease

L-R: Marketing & Activations Lead West Africa Reckitt Benckiser, Mrs. Bamigbaiye-ElatuyiOmotola, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Director of Medical Education at Princess Diana of Wales Hospital, United Kingdom, Dr. Asif Naqvi (FRCP), Consultant Gastroenterologist, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Dr. Sumaila Adamu, Dr. Musa Mohammed Borodo, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and Marketing Manager, Healthcare Reckitt Benckiser West Africa, Mr. Qaiser Rashid at the Gaviscon Opinion Leaders of Nigeria’( GOLDEN) Faculty session in Enugu
In its determination to explore new ways of treating Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Gaviscon, from the stables of Reckitt Benckiserin Enugu hosted members of the Golden Faculty to explore new ways of treating the disease. Golden Faculty, a think tank which stands for ‘Gaviscon Opinion Leaders of Nigeria’ brought together eminent medical professionals in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, family medicine, pharmacy and other allied specialties.

With the theme: ‘Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease, Where Are We?’, the eventwas facilitated by a Gastroenterologist of global recognition, Dr. Asif Naqvi (FRCP), Consultant Gastroenterologist and Director of Medical Education at Princess Diana of Wales Hospital, United Kingdom. Dr. Sumaila Adamu, from Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano also made a presentation at the event.

According to experts, heartburn or Acid Reflux occurs when acid, which usually sits within the protected lining of the stomach, escapes back up into the oesophagus (food pipe), and since the oesophagus is not as well protected as the stomach the acid can irritate the lining, causing painful symptoms such as burning sensation, pain (usually behind the breastbone) and a feeling of sickness.

Speaking on the effectiveness of Gaviscon in treating GERD, Dr. Asif Naqvi, stated that Gaviscon is a very effective product such that it has become a home remedy. His words, “Over the years, we have understood exactly how Gaviscon works and why it’s so much effective than other simple antacids. So far, this product has been treated as if it was one of the antacids. The fact is that Gaviscon is not an antacid but a separate product which has got a definite mechanism of action which is very effective.”

Dr. Asif also stressed the need for more awareness to be created for the prevention and management of heartburn, indigestion and related health conditions. “Awareness need to first start from healthcare workers at all levels starting from pharmacists to nurses,paramedical staff and primary healthcare physicians; and at the end, the opinion leaders and gastroenterologists and allied people.”

He added that the condition is considered to be benign in a large majority of patients “but it is important that it be recognized now. Therefore it is important that all levels must be focused. There is a lot of evidence that if corrected on a short term, it has a lot of impact in improving quality of life.”

Highlighting how Gaviscon works, Mr. Qaiser Rashid, Marketing Manager Healthcare, Reckitt Benckiser West Africa pointed out that, when a person has heartburn or reflux disease, Gaviscon goes into the stomach and forms a raft on top which prevents the acid pepsin and bile from coming on top.

In his presentation, Dr. Sumaila Adamu revealed that, there are no functional studies on GERD in Nigeria. He also brought to the fore the fact that, there are no adequate facilities to address GERD in country. “We don’t have adequate facilities. Only few centres do endoscopy and have facilities to be able to diagnose some of the complications of GERD and manage it. We lack the capacity to do very extensive studies for non-erosive reflux disease. What should be done is to have a grant, government funding or corporate backing to conduct a standard population study so that we can characterize our patients for better management in the future.” He said

He added that “Gaviscon is a very good innovation in the management of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease because it is an alginate which tends to give a lot of protection to the acid irritation oesophagus. It is a very important molecule to the gastroenterologists”.

Also speaking at the event, President of the Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN), Prof. Olusegun Ojo, stated that this initiative from Gaviscon is helping practitioners to develop more awareness of the gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. According to him, “it is the regular focus on the disease aided by Gaviscon, that is helping practitioners develop a research and clinical interest on a problem that already exists.We didn’t realize the extent of its prevalence in our population.”

It would also be recalled that Gaviscon was a major sponsor of the just concluded 7th Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN), tagged; Challenges of Gastroenterology Practice in Nigeria where Dr. Asif Naqvi and Dr. Sumaila Adamu also made presentations. The event took place at the Nike Lake Resort, Enugu.

Experts added that Acid Reflux, known as Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a serious medical condition. They said, while the stomach is lined with special cells which prevents stomach acids and pepsin that digest food from hurting the stomach walls, the oesophagus doesn’t have these, and over time, the repeated splashing of acids from the stomach burns and scars the walls. Not only is Reflux disease uncomfortable and painful when left untreated, it can eventually lead to more serious health problems such as ulcers, stomach cancer and cancer of the oesophagus.

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