The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye has said pneumonia is one disease that should not be killing children, especially since it is a preventable disease.
Speaking at a round-table on pneumonia organised by the Save the Children International (SCI) for civil society organisations and the media in Lagos, Ogboye said the state government was committed to working and creating an enabling environment for all stakeholders to deliver on checking the negative impact of pneumonia on children and the elderly.
Delivering a paper at the meeting, the Lagos State Coordinator, Child Survival Strategy, Dr. Sadiat Okaga, disclosed that 17,955 children below the age of five died from pneumonia yearly in Lagos.
Okaga said a study by SCI Inspiring Project in 2019 was able to estimate under-5 mortality in Lagos as 50 per 1,000 live births and that Lagos State records about 17, 955 mortality of paediatric pneumonia annually.
On why stakeholders need to take concerted efforts to halt deaths from pneumonia, Okaga said: “Nigeria accounts for 5 per cent of global pneumococcal infections, just 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. Pneumonia accounts for 18 per cent of child deaths in 2018.”
She further said a forecast shows that 1.4 million children under-5 could die from pneumonia over the next decade in the country.
She noted that gaps still exist despite policy, guidelines and protocols established for coordination of pneumonia control by Federal Ministry of Health.
On the way forward, Okaga stated that because there is paucity of data on pneumonia in Lagos, and the entire country, there is need for improved survey approaches to understand the risks of paediatric pneumonia, alongside the need for investment in reliable routine data systems to provide data on the clinical pneumonia burden in Nigeria.
She also suggested capacity building of health workers across the health sector, with a greater focus on the private sector.
Okaga said there was need to support the supply of essential commodities, for instance, increasing access to dispersible amoxicillin at the Primary Healthcare (PHC) level.
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