Pneumonia, diarrhea kill 195,000 Nigerian children annually – Expert

No fewer than 195,000 children died of pneumonia while 120,000 of them lost their lives as result of diarrhea in Nigeria annually.

The Director of Project, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria –Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health – Remi Adeseun, a Pharmacist, said this in Kaduna during a one-day Policy Dialogues/Media Roundtable with key stakeholders in Kaduna on Saturday.

Adeseun, who noted that pneumonia and diarrhea were salient child killer diseases yet to receive the necessary attention, said these had led to high child mortality rate.

He said the World Health Organisation recent report indicated that pneumonia had continued to be the biggest killer worldwide of children under the age of five years.

He added that although the implementation of safe, effective and affordable intervention had reduced pneumonia mortality from four million in 1981 to just over one million in 2014, the disease still accounted for nearly one fifth of
childhood death worldwide.

He said, “The Roundtable dialogue by PSN-PACFaH is a move to sensitise the pharmacists and media practitioners on the overview of WHO new treatment guideline for childhood (under five years) suffering from pneumonia and diarrhea.

“Nurses, doctors and pharmacists from across Kaduna have come together to deliberate on how we can improve the health status especially that of Kaduna’s children.

“Kaduna has an unenviable position like many other state state in Nigeria of having triple digit under five mortality rate, meaning about 185 children out of every 1,000 children born will not leave to see their five years birthday, which is unacceptable.

“At national average, the figure is about 128. That is rather too high because we have African countries that have just about 15 and about 3-5 in developed countries.

“We want Kaduna State Government and relevant stakeholders in the ministry of health to work together to see how we can improve on our health status through the appropriate treatment of child killer diseases.

“We have to go beyond the figure. Let us see human a face. Imagine a mother giving birth after nine months but the baby will not leave to celebrate his or her five years birthday.”

Director of Public Health, Kaduna State Ministry of Health, Bitrus Markus, said the advocacy was timely.

He said the state was already ahead on the treatment of childhood diseases.