To celebrate its launch, the Allergy Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) will be hosting an Allergy Carnival at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital on the 1st of April 2017.

The carnival, which coincides with World Allergy Week, is open to the public from 10:00am to 4:00pm and will provide free allergy testing for allergy suffers and access to leading allergy specialists to address parent’s and patients’ queries.

CEO of AFSA, Dr Mike Levin, says that the establishment of the organisation addresses a long standing gap in the care offered to allergy sufferers.

“Currently patients have to wait months to see a specialist if they are fortunate enough to access care at all. This is largely due to a very low number of registered allergists in the country – of which there are only 15 – and very few dedicated allergy clinics,” said Dr Levin.

According to Dr Levin, this is particularly problematic because allergic diseases are the most common chronic diseases of childhood and markedly affect quality of life and learning potential in children.  “In addition, allergies are increasing rapidly in South Africa and the rate of increase is fastest in the rural and poor populations, in whom allergy was previously uncommon,” said Dr Levin.

Dr Levin added that AFSA will provide advice, information and support to people with allergies, food intolerance and primary immune deficiencies and will act as the ‘voice’ of allergy sufferers, representing the views and needs of those affected by this multi-organ disease.

“The AFSA website provides free access to downloadable patient information brochures focusing on all common allergies and intolerances.  All our brochures are produced by experts and provide excellent quality health information,” said Dr Levin

“The website empowers sufferers to manage their symptoms and appreciate gaps in their care that they can address with their healthcare providers. A list of medical professionals with interest or higher qualifications in allergy or primary immune deficiency (PID) helps patients to access specialist care. We also educate laypeople, allergy sufferers, parents, carers and school staff through our interactive online training modules,” continued said Dr Levin.

“Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital supports the work of organisations such as AFSA. It is important that members of the public are made aware of the correct information about Allergic conditions so that allergy sufferers can obtain appropriate medical attention and thus lead productive lives at school and at work,” said Medical Manager at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Dr Anita Parbhoo.

All allergy sufferers are welcome to attend the Allergy Carnival, which will also incorporate several fun activities over and above the testing and specialist advice station. There will be live music, raffles and give-aways will be happening throughout the day as well as a variety of allergy friendly food, snacks and products that can help allergy sufferers. There will also be activities for children such as a climbing wall, obstacle course, petting zoo and jumping castle.

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