Nigeria: Pneumonia Kills 162, 000 Children Annually - Govt

19 November 2021

Pneumonia claims the lives of 162, 000 Nigerian children under five annually, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has said.

The minister made the disclosure on Friday evening during a news briefing by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with Save the Children International (SCI) to mark this year's World Pneumonia Day.

Quoting World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, he warned that if the current trend in pneumonia related childhood mortality continues , especially with the advent of the Delta variant of the coronavirus , the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under -five mortality reduction target of having less than 25 deaths per 1000 live births will not be achieved by 2030.

He said Nigeria needs to accelerate efforts towards reducing the burden of pneumonia and other childhood diseases.

WHO Nigeria country representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo said pneumonia is the leading killer of children in Nigeria, causing 17 percent of under-five deaths.

He said that 78 per cent of air pollution-related pneumonia deaths are among children under-five - the highest proportion across all countries, according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD 2019).

Represented by Dr Joy Ufere- Isikima , he said air pollution is the leading risk factor for death from pneumonia across all age groups, adding that almost a third of all pneumonia deaths were attributable to polluted air.

"Children are more susceptible to household air pollution in homes that regularly use polluting fuels and technologies for cooking, heating and lighting. While outdoor air pollution, especially from pollutants emitted by industries and car exhaust smoke, disproportionately affects respiratory health among older adults," he said.

Country Director · Save the Children International, Mercy Gichuhi's who was represented by Dr Adamu Isa, Chief of party, Inspiring Project of the organisation, said Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world with a national pneumonia control strategy.

She said a recent release by the organisation and UNICEF revealed that close to 30 percent of all deaths attributed to pneumonia are connected to air pollution.

She said this therefore makes it important for all stakeholders to re-examine the strategy and pay more attention to the problem.

"We are currently supporting 64 primary health and secondary healthcare facilities in two states on pneumonia prevention. The strategy is also being domesticated across some states," she added.

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