By Danmaryam Zayamu
Concerned by the high number of child mortality as a result of Pneumonia, the Federal Government has developed what it christened, a National Pneumonia Control Strategy and Implementation Plan (NPCSIP).
The aim is to reduce to the barest minimum, the menace of pneumonia related morbidities and mortalities among children under the age of five years in Nigeria.
At the formal launch of the document in Abuja, yesterday, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed that 800,000 children die annually as a result of Pneumonia related complications.
According to him: “Pneumonia remains one of the world’s leading infectious disease killer of children which annually claim about 800,000 lives of children under the age of five, despite the disease being preventable, and treatable.
Dr Ehanire stated that the highest burden of pneumonia is concentrated in the world’s poorest countries.
“The most deprived and marginalised children suffer most, especially those from poor families in the low and middle income countries are likely to die due to the social and economic inequalities which lead to poor access to basic essential health service,” he lamented.
The Minister said that the government in the effort to address the challenges of under five children, adopted the integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) as the main thrust of the child survival strategy, provision of essential vaccines and the campaign for exclusive breast-feeding practice which is yielding positive results
While launching the document, Dr Ehanire urged ‘Every Breath Count Coalition’, all partners and stakeholders to work closely with the ministry to implement the National Integrated Pneumonia Control Strategy and Implementation Plan.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Abdullaziz Mashi reiterated that the rate of under-five children’s death recorded in the country is unacceptable, hence, the need to have a strategy document that would help Nigeria in reducing Pneumonia related deaths.
Mr. Abdullahi further disclosed that the National Pneumonia Control Strategy and Implementation Plan was developed through a multi-sectoral and consultative stakeholders’ engagement.
He revealed that the document encompasses all interventions aimed at reducing Pneumonia related mortalities based on the existing operational policies, guidelines and strategies.
He noted that Federal Ministry of Health, remains committed to scaling up high impact interventions that would address the major killers of children under five years of age and Nigerians in general.