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Kaduna has second highest pneumonia cases in North-West – Commissioner

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kaduna-has-second-highest-pneumonia-cases-in-north-west-–-commissioner

AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna

Kaduna State has second-highest burden of childhood pneumonia among the seven North-Western States of Nigeria, accounting for 13 per cent of under-five mortality.

The State Commissioner of Health, Dr Amina Baloni disclosed this in Kaduna on Thursday while addressing a press conference to mark the World Pneumonia Day.

Dr Baloni said that, in 2019, pneumonia killed 2.5 million people worldwide, including 700,000 children, adding that, most of the pneumonia morbidities and pneumonia-deaths are in seven countries, with Nigeria and India being the most hit countries.

According to her, “Pneumonia, though very much a preventable disease, still remains a tangible threat to the lives of under-5 children and the elderly. Every year, an estimated 155 million children under the age of 5 years are made sick by pneumonia.

“In 2019, pneumonia killed 2.5 million people worldwide, including 700,000 children. Most of these pneumonia morbidities and pneumonia-deaths are in seven countries, with Nigeria and India being the most hit countries.

“The situation in Kaduna state reflects this grim picture of preventable deaths, with pneumonia accounting for 13% of death of children before they reach their fifth birthday. Kaduna state has the second-highest burden of childhood pneumonia among the seven North-Western States in Nigeria.

“The celebration of World Pneumonia Day helps to bring this kind of information to the front burner and, therefore, promote actions that can swiftly bring the ugly situation under control.

“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 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.

READ ALSO: Six-year-old raped to death in Kaduna

“Efforts would be scaled up to combat the risk factors for pneumonia, such as promoting exclusive breastfeeding 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,” the Commissioner said.

Also speaking at the Press Conference, President-Elect of Paediatric Association of Nigeria, Professor Olufemi Ogunrinde said, Nigeria has unfortunately become the country with the largest number of children dying before their 5th birthday.

He, however, suggests that the way out of the preventable disease is for the huge investment into the control of Covid-19 to be sustained and extended to improve child health outcomes, especially outcomes following childhood pneumonia.

“We pray that effective affordable antibiotics, supplemental oxygen, and pulse oximeters be made available at all levels of health care, including the primary health centres across Kaduna State.

“The visible collaboration between government and the organized private sector regarding control of Covid-19 should be sustained even after the pandemic, while engagement of the public and improvement in disease and health outcome surveillance occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic should to be sustained,” said Prof. Ogunrinde.

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