Why Nigeria Must Take Pneumonia Treatment Serious
… We Must Close Existing Gap In Pneumonia Treament Policy Guidelines – Stakeholders
Available statistics has shown that the current state of Pneumonia infection in the country is quite alarming as Nigeria now occupies number three position in Pneumonia cases globally.
In correcting the situation, Save The Children International, SCI, has been involved in many activities to curb the menace of Pneumonia and other childhood diseases.
SCI in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, also organised a program to mark the World Pneumonia Day.
It was made known that research showed that more than 40 percent of Under-1 children in Nigeria are unvaccinated against Pneumococcal disorders.
Also, UNICEF’s statistics revealed that in 2018, Nigeria accounted for the highest Pneumonia deaths globally with a total of 162,000 deaths.
In an interaction with our Correspondent on the World Pneumonia Day, some nursing mothers spoken to appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to hasten many of the read works ongoing in the metropolis while starting work on many other bad spots in the state causing terrible traffic thus affecting movement of sick babies and pregnant women within the community.
“It took me almost three hours to navigate a stretch of roads that hitherto should not be more than 20-30 minutes to take my baby that has symptoms of Pneumonia to the hospital last week.” Mrs. Felicia Olawale recounted her ordeal.
Another resident of Ogba axis of Lagos, Mrs. Nurat Yusuf, also narrated her experience on how terrible traffic is impacting accessibility of quality healthcare delivery.
“The private family hospital is somewhere in Dopemu area of Lagos and I spent good three hours between Ogba and Dopemu while taking my 5year-old daughter for treatment. This is really bad and government should do something about this urgently.” Mrs. Yusuf pleaded.
They however commended non-governmental organisations like SCI and others for bringing projects focusing on capacity building of health workers in case management of common childhood illnesses, social and behaviour change communication, as well as the advocacy, awareness creation, establishment of working groups.”
At an Ikorodu Primary Healthcare Centre where SCI has a project, nursing mothers were full of praises to SCI that despite the sorry state of Pneumococcal disorders among children in Nigeria, their community is counted worthy of such beneficial health projects.
“The Project which is being implemented in Ikorodu Local Government Area in Lagos State and Kiyawa LGA in Jigawa State, is designed to strengthen health service delivery in immunisation , supply chain and health management information system.
Already, projections have shown that no less than 1.4 million children that are aged Under-5 could die from pneumonia over the next decade in Nigeria if urgent steps are not taken to check the high burden of the disease through immunisation.
“By accounting for 5 percent of global Pneumococcal infections, Nigeria has the third-largest burden after China and India.
“In 2018, Nigeria recorded the highest number of pneumonia deaths globally with 162,000 deaths – 443 deaths per day, or 18 every hour even as pneumonia accounts for 18 percent of child deaths in 2018.”
In line with this, the Lagos State Ministry of Health has promised an improvement in the routine immunization of children with PCV and pentavalent vaccine, to ensure that they are fully immunized before their first-year birthday.
Giving this assurance during the annual celebration of World Pneumonia Day organised by Save the Children International Under its INSPIRING Project, was the State Child Survival Strategic Coordinator, Dr. Saidat Ogaga, who made it known that the state government has been embarking on several routine immunization programs to reduce and control the incidence of pneumonia in the state.
She made reference to UNICEF’s projection that about 1.4 million children under-5 could die from pneumonia over the next decade in Nigeria.
While emphasising the need to address environmental factors such as air pollution in overcrowded homes, Dr. Ogaga also stressed the importance of good nutrition and complete immunization for the children.
All the concerned stakeholders have been pointing out that there are gaps despite all the existing policy guidelines, protocols established for coordination of Pneumonia control by the Federal Ministry of Health.
“There is still need for improvement in the insufficient data on Pneumonia in Lagos. We need to do more on survey approaches to understand the risk of Pediatric Pneumonia.” Ogaga explained
In conclusion, Ogaga stated that there is still the need to train and retrain more frontline healthcare providers in order to minimize the deaths from Pneumonia complications.