The chief of party, inspiring projects, Save the Children International (SCI) Nigeria, Dr. Adamu Isah, has said that commitment to dissemination and implementation of the National Pneumonia Strategy will reduce the rate of death connected to pneumonia and air pollution in the country.
He stated this in Abuja during a ministerial press briefing by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with SCI and other partners to mark the 2021 World Pneumonia Day with the theme, “Pneumonia and Environmental Pollution’’.
Research statistics show that about 808,920 paediatric deaths are associated with pneumonia and more than 100 million reported cases of childhood pneumonia globally is majorly from low and middle-income countries.
Isah said that the organisation had so far supported over 64 Primary Health Centes (PHCs) in some states with pneumonia and air pollution intervention to reduce the risk and consequences of the disease.
He said, “Only Nigeria has such a detailed strategy to ending pneumonia and Save the Children Nigeria will do our best to ensure we disseminate the strategy.”
Responding, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osage Ehanire, added that 3/4 of global mortalities happening in 14 countries including Nigeria is due to pneumonia, saying this affects 162,000 under-five deaths annually.
He said, “If the current trend in pneumonia-related childhood mortality continues, especially with the advent of Delta variant of the coronavirus, the SDG under-five mortality reduction target of having less than 25 deaths per 1000 live birth will not be achieved.
“Therefore, Nigeria needs to accelerate efforts towards reducing the burden of pneumonia and other childhood killer disease.’’
Nigeria’s Country Representative, (WHO,) Walter Mulombo, explained the need to highlight the causes of pneumonia and air pollution, saying that appropriate treatment will significantly reduce the number of deaths recorded due to its complication.
Also, Chief of Health, UNICEF, Mr. Edward Celades, restated its commitment to support the government in addressing issues affecting children even as he called on the government to scale-up services that will reduce major causes of pneumonia and air pollution diseases.