A new report released last Thursday by the International Vaccine Access Centre, IVAC, has revealed that Nigeria ranks among countries that contribute 70 per cent of global burden of pneumonia.
The study further showed that an estimated 6.7 million cases of pneumonia recorded in Nigeria annually with about 200, 000 children under the age of five dying from the preventable disease.
According to experts, pneumonia is an infection in one or both lungs. Many germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause pneumonia. It is not a single disease and can have more than 30 different causes.
Nigeria the report added is yet to scale up interventions aimed at reducing the deaths and treating effectively the ailment.
The IVAC report tagged, “2017 progress updates towards 10 key indicators of success in the 15 countries with the highest pneumonia & Diarrhoea”, showed that out of 15 countries, Nigeria, Somalia, Chad and China performed lowest.
Critical health watchers are also of the view that Nigeria is not yet on track in interrupting the high prevalence of pneumonia and other childhood killer diseases.
The report noted that, pneumonia and diarrhoea account for 25 per cent of under-five deaths globally and also showed that Nigeria and others contribute 70 per cent of the deaths.
Meanwhile, World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that although pneumonia is preventable and treatable, every 20 seconds, a child somewhere in the world dies of the ailment, making it the number one killer of children in the world.
The global body, in the 2017 median overall of the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), of the target of 86 per cent achieved when a country meets the minimal targets for each of the 10 GAPPD interventions, Nigeria scored only 30 per cent. The Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health, PSN-PACFaH, Henry Adenigba, explained that a state like Lagos, which is fast growing, contributes 10 per cent and nine per cent of the burden of pneumonia and diarrhoea despite the presence of manufacturers of approved drugs there.
“For every 100 children deaths in Lagos State, pneumonia and diarrhoea jointly account for 19 of those deaths”, Adenigba said. He called for proper management of pneumonia and diarrhoea through the inclusion of Amoxicillin DT and Zinc- LO-ORS (Co -pack) as first line treatment for the two childhood killer diseases.
According to him, there is also the need to increase health budget because WHO recommends 15 per cent of the national budget for health. A former President, Paediatric Association of Nigeria, PAN, Dr Dorathy Esangbade, also said there is need to save children under the age of five from dying from pneumonia and other pneumococcal disorders.