Save the Children, an international non-governmental organisation that promotes children’s rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries has released a well researched and heart rending report of the number of lives of children that have been lost to several preventable cases of pneumonia around the world since 2016.
The report which titled “Fighting For Breath in Nigeria: A call to Action on Childhood Pneumonia” was made available today November 12th, a day set aside globally for the commemoration of World Pneumonia Day. This year commemoration was organised by the Save the Children in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
According to the Report, 880,000 children under five died of #Pneumonia in 2016″. That’s almost two fatalities every minute of everyday–more than diarrhea, malaria and measles combined.
The report further revealed that only 24% of children with Pneumonia symptoms were taken to health facility in 2017 while roughly 75.6% of the children were unable to access immediate healthcare facilities due to several social economic factors.
Speaking at the event, Country Director Save the Children Nigeria, Benjamin Foot stated that poor children are most at risk
from pneumonia since the health system disaproportionately provide for the wealthiers children in most developing countries.
“Pneumonia claims the lives of more children around the world than any other infectious disease”.
“Vast majority of of those killed by pneumonia are poor and living in low and middle income countries” he said.
Foot added that antibiotics which could have prevented 70% of all pneumonia deaths, costing $0.50 on average, are frequently not accessible and often unavailable.
Panelists are the event which comprised medical practitioners, pharmacists and paediatricians and other major stakeholders in health sector in Nigeria shared recommendations, curative and preventive measures based on research conducted.
Few actionable recommendations at reducing emergency cases of pneumonia mentioned are as follow:
- Nigeria should make it a priority to ensure strong, accessible primary health care systems for all communities. For effective prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of Pneumonia, health care systems must be free for patients.
- Government at all levels should reduce vulnerability to pneumonia by promoting healthy nutrition i.e. exlucisve breastfeeding, complementary feeding, safe drinking water and sanitation.
- Finally FGN should partner with pharmaceutical companies to provide low cost amoxicillin dispersible Table and Install oxygen Facilities at primary Health Care centres.