To commemorate World Lupus Day on May 10, 2021, a non-governmental organisation, Arise Monalisa Foundation, is set to organise a series of activities aimed at increasing awareness of the disease with the theme, ‘Make Lupus Visible’.
According to the organisers, some of the activities include a 2km sensitisation walk around Unity Fountain, Abuja, on Saturday, May 8, by 7am and a symposium on Monday, May 10, by 10am at the Hilton Hotel.
Expected at the event are the First Lady, Minister of Health and Ministers of the Federal Capital Territory, healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies as well as other well-meaning Nigerians and members of the press.
In addition to the lupus awareness programme, Arise Monalisa Foundation is also intent on providing health intervention activities, in collaboration with the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation, for patients suffering from fibroids, breast lumps, hernia and lipoma. The intervention will involve visits to selected states by a team of surgeons, led by Dr. Benjamin Olowojebutu, a CNN Hero Award nominee, to perform surgeries on patients with the above-mentioned ailments.
This medical outreach is designed to help bring relief to rural dwellers that can ill afford the cost of these surgeries by bringing the health solutions to them right where they are in their localities. Arise Monalisa Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation founded by veteran award-winning actress, TV show host and humanist, Monalisa Chinda-Coker.
As the world seeks to understand more of the disease, May 10 has been dedicated by the World Lupus Federation as World Lupus Day, to bring greater attention and resources to efforts aimed at ending the suffering caused by the disabling and potentially fatal autoimmune disease. The annual event serves to draw global focus to the debilitating impact of lupus while addressing the need for improved patient healthcare services as well as increased research into the causes of and cure for lupus.
Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues and organs. It is a chronic disease that can result in inflammation and pain in any part of the body, and while it affects both genders, women are known to be more susceptible. Patients with lupus experience a loss of self-tolerance as a result of abnormal immunological functions and the production of autoantibodies, which lead to the formation of immune complexes that may adversely affect healthy tissues.
According to experts, the manifestations differ from person to person, with attacks on major functioning parts of the human body like joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. Symptoms include fatigue, pain and swelling in the joints, sensitivity to light, chest pain, fever and headaches among others. Not much is known about the cause of the disease but attributions can be made to genetic and environmental factors as likely triggers.