14 November 2012

Kenya: Kilifi Winning War Against Pneumonia

The war against pneumonia in Kilifi is bearing fruit,district public health officer Vincent Iduri has said. The rate of infections and deaths has drastically reduced in the district since the introduction of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in 2011.

"In the last six months we have had a great reduction in deaths related to pneumonia. We cannot directly attribute this to the vaccine because there are other interventions we did put in place that have contributed to the reduction in the deaths," said Iduri.

However, Kemri science communication specialist Anne Ashitiva said the results of the vaccine cannot immediately be deduced as research on its impact is ongoing.

She said the study on the effectiveness of the vaccine will be done on a before and after basis. The project is being conducted at the Kilifi District Hospital. She said the rate of infection has reduced by about 70 per cent compared to the previous years.

Among the interventions for the infections drop include exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, good hygiene through proper hand washing, proper use of toilets, proper ventilation, use of treated mosquito nets and early treatment for the sick.

The study at 26 health facilities is a Kemri and the Kilifi district health management team venture. Pneumonia is ranked the number one killer of children under age of five worldwide and is responsible for 18 percent of all child deaths.

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