Kaduna has Second Highest Childhood Pneumonia Burden in Northwest- Health Commissioner
By Femi Adi
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Health Dr. Amina Baloni on Thursday said the State has the second highest burden of childhood pneumonia among the seven North-Western States in Nigeria.
According to her ,the situation in Kaduna state reflects grim picture of preventable deaths, with pneumonia accounting for 13% of death of children before they reach their fifth birthday.
Dr. Amina Baloni ,who stated this in her speech during the occasion of this year’s World Pneumonia Day held at the Health Ministry’s Conference Hall said “Every year, an estimated 155 million children under the age of 5 years are made sick by pneumonia.”
She also hinted ,” In 2019, pneumonia killed 2.5 million people worldwide, including 700,000 children. Most these pneumonia morbidities and pneumonia-deaths are in seven countries, with Nigeria and India being the most hit countries. ”
While noting that the celebration of World Pneumonia Day helps to bring this kind of information to the front burner, she harped on need to promote actions that can swiftly bring the ugly situation under control.
Dr. Baloni further explained ” The World Pneumonia Day was started on 2nd November 2009 by the Stop Pneumonia Initiative and has been held every 12th day of November since 2010. So, this is the 12th celebration to take place.
It has three aims to: ” Raise awareness about pneumonia, Promote interventions to protect against, prevent, and treat pneumonia, and, Generate action to combat pneumonia”
Adding that Pneumonia, though very much a preventable disease, still remains a tangible threat to the lives of under-5 children and the elderly.
“The World Pneumonia Day 2020 is special because it is the first time it will take place during a global pandemic, the Covid-19. As of 6th November 2020, 47 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported worldwide with about 1.23 million deaths. The corresponding figures in Nigeria are 63,508 and 1,155 and in Kaduna State 2,670 and 44 respectively.
” Covid-19 is principally a respiratory tract infection and most people with the severe disease have Covid-19 pneumonia. It is estimated that Covid-19 will add about 1.9 million deaths to the already over 2 million people dying from pneumonia each year.Apart from killing so many adults in Nigeria, Covid-19 also disrupted maternal and newborn services such as immunization and caused poverty at both government and household levels. These are just a few examples of the deleterious effects of Covid-19.
“The Government of Kaduna State recognizes the need to work with the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia as represented by the Paediatric Association of Nigeria, UNICEF and other partners and stakeholders.
” Efforts would be scaled up to combat the risk factors for pneumonia, such as promoting exclusive breast feeding in the first six months of life and improving vaccine demand and utilization.
“Availability of affordable effective antibiotics, pulse oximeters at all levels of healthcare, and supplemental oxygen for the adequate treatment of pneumonia will be pursued”.
However, she believed with all hands on deck to support the government and Associations like the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) and UNICEF in the implementation of preventive measures, the unfavourable childhood morbidity and mortality from preventable pneumonia will be reduced in Kaduna state and the country generally.