Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria Has Highest Child Mortality Rate, Says Medical Expert

Nigeria has the highest child mortality rate in Africa as it has been scientifically confirmed that no fewer than 90,000 children die yearly through pneumonia related disease.

Out of nearly 1.6 million children under the age of five years who die of pneumonia annually, 98 per cent of these children who die of pneumonia live in developing countries.

This revelation was made by a paediatrician, Professor Adegoke Falade from the Department of Paediatrics, University College Hospital, Ibadan on behalf of the International Vaccine Centre, Johns Hopkins University, USA while educating market women on how to prevent and treat pneumonia in Ibadan yesterday.

According to him in 2008, about 177,000 children under the age of five years died of pneumonia in Nigeria. This number is highest in Africa and second highest overall in the world.

He warned the market women who trooped out en masse to get more enlightenment on how this deadly disease could be checked.

The don advised women in Bodija International Market to avoid exposing their children to cigarette smoke and other hazards which could make pneumonia more devastating in children.

Causes of pneumonia, according to him include bacteria, viruses and other micro organisms.

Prof. Falade added that as deadly as the disease is, there are some steps that could keep it at bay. Among the solutions he gave are that children should be breastfed during the first six months of life.

While telling them that there are estimated 56 million episodes of lung infections among Nigerian children every year, he underscored the importance of a new vaccine which is being administered against the HiB and pneumococcus adding that they should access good and effective health care to avoid a hopeless situation.

The women who freely expressed their minds contributed positively to the interactive session promised to act on the preventive measures given by the medical expert.

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