Save the Children International, SCI, has raised the alarm over increasing deaths of children from pneumonia than other diseases even as the National Demographic Health Survey, NDHS, 2018 revealed that in Lagos alone, 130,000 children under the ages of five died of the disease in 2017.
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the small sacs in the lungs called alveoli which could result into pus or fluid filled alveoli leading to painful breathing and ultimately limits oxygen intake.
According to the 2018 NDHS, pneumonia killed more than 162,000 children under-five in 2018 – more than 18 children every hour. In Lagos alone, it killed 130,000 children under 5 in 2017.
Speaking during the Maternal Week Planning Meeting and World Pneumonia Day Celebration in Lagos, the representative of SCI, Dr. Opeyemi Odedera said despite the fact that pneumonia is eminently preventable and treatable; it is still killing more children than HIV, malaria and diarrhea combined.
According to him, report has shown that most of the deaths could be averted through simple antibiotics costing just $0.40 cents. “It is a violation of children’s rights and we can and must stop it.”
He disclosed that through its project tagged: ‘Integrated Sustainable Childhood Pneumonia and Infectious Disease Reduction in Nigeria’ (INSPIRING), being implemented in Lagos and Jigawa, they will be contributing to the reduction of morbidity and mortality in under 5 children by 2030. He said INSPIRING will deliver innovative, sustainable, and scalable solutions and interventions for the reduction of under 5 pneumonia and other-related childhood illnesses in Lagos and Jigawa.
Disclosing that the Situation Analysis of paediatric pneumonia status conducted in Lagos (Ikorodu) and Jigawa revealed gaps in treatment, he pledged that INSPIRING will find ways to expand access to quality pneumonia diagnostic and treatment services across a selected number of primary and secondary healthcare facilities.
Speaking, the Lagos State Child Survival Strategies Coordinator, Dr. Saidat Okaga who delivered a paper on the State of Pneumonia among under 5 children in Lagos State described pneumonia as the biggest killer of children under-five in Lagos State, adding that it killed more than 130,000 children under-five in 2017 (over 15 children every hour.)
“Nigeria has a 22 per 1000 live births, under five mortality rate due to pneumonia in 2018. Only 19.4 percent and 15.1 % children with pneumonia symptoms sourced for advice or treatment from a public health facility and private health facility respectively in 2017. Under 5 child mortality is 50/1000 deaths in 2017 and 19% of child deaths were due to pneumonia in 2017.