Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Pneumonia Kills 130,000 Every Year As Vaccine Lingers

Photo: Stuart Price/UN Photo
Mothers sit with their malnourished and dehydrated children in a ward at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu.

Pneumonia kills an estimated 130,000 children every year in Nigeria, a number thought to be the second highest deaths from the disease globally, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, amidst calls for a "stronger coalition" against the disease.

"Less than half of all children with suspected pneumonia are taken for treatement and just twenty-three percent [of the children] get treatment with antibiotics," said Dr Ado Muhammad, executive director of the agency.

"Among families on very low incomes where the risk of child death from pneumonia is the highest, the numbers are dramatically lower."

The disease is still the number one killer of children aged under five and many child deaths have gone unnoticed because of waning attention on pneumonia.

Stakeholders meet next week to "build a stronger coalition against the scourge of pneumonia," Ado announced at press briefing ahead of World Pneumonia Day on November 12.

But the agency is still "on the verge" of introducing pneumonia conjugate vaccine (PCV) which targets the leading causes of pneumonia in children, but the exact time is still uncertain.

It will be the second vaccine to be introduced in months after a pentavalent (five-in-one) vaccine was introduced in July to combat diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and haemophillus influenza B.

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