6 November 2017

Africa: 'Nigeria, Somalia, Chad Have Highest Pneumonia, Diarrhoea Deaths'

Nigeria, Somalia and Chad have the highest number of deaths from child pneumonia and diarrhoea in the world. This was contained in a report by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, U.S.A.

The report, which was released yesterday, shows that pneumonia and diarrhea were the cause of death for an estimated 1.5 million children or 25 per cent of under-five deaths globally.

The IVAC report was titled: "2017 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report: Driving Progress Through Equitable Investment and Action."

It noted that 15 countries, including India, Nigeria Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Chad, Afghanistan, Niger, China, Sudan, Bangladesh, Somalia, and United Republic of Tanzania, carry the burden of these deaths at 70 per cent.

It added Nigeria, Somalia and Chad also had the lowest overall scores in the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) targets. The report added that 11 countries met or exceeded an overall GAPPD score of 43 per cent.

Four countries that did not meet the target were Somalia (19 per cent), Chad (23 per cent), Nigeria (30 per cent) and China (38 per cent).

Also, the DRC, Ethiopia and Nigeria are yet to introduce the rotavirus vaccine used to protect children against severe diarrhea.

According to the report, half of all diarrhoea cases and about one third of respiratory infections could be averted by breastfeeding.

It noted that Nigeria has the third worst exclusive breastfeeding rate at 17 per cent, which is slightly better than Somalia with five per cent and Chad, with zero per cent.

The IVAC report is published yearly to explore the factors that delay the eradication of the two biggest killers of young children.

There are 10 targets of measuring the success of these burden countries.

They are: Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Vaccine (Hib3) coverage, Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS), Antibiotic treatment, Diphtheria Tetanus and Pertussis (DTP3) coverage.

Others are Rota C coverage, appropriate care seeking, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV3) coverage, zinc, exclusive breastfeeding and Measles-containing-vaccine first-dose (MCV1) coverage.

While this year's median overall GAPPD score was 46 per cent, none of the 15 countries met the targeted GAPPD score of 86 per cent.

Of the 15 countries evaluated, only six met the targets in area of interventions, while none fulfilled it in any of the treatment indicators.

The report concluded: "It is critical to recognise that this is not just a health problem, smart investments in child health allow countries and communities to reap an array of benefits. These include greater educational attainment and breaking the vicious cycle of poverty."


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