by crossriverwatch admin
Not less than 177, 000 children under the age of five die every year from pneumonia in Nigeria, statistics released in Calabar, Cross River State revealed on Friday.
Globally, pneumonia kills an estimated 1.4 million children under the age of five years every year- more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
The startling statistic, which was revealed by Director of Breath of Life, Dr. Regina Ejemot-Nwadiaro, at a workshop organised for community volunteers on pneumonia prevention and control, noted that the scourge is caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi and can be prevented by immunisation, adequate nutrition and addressing environmental factors.
Breath of Life is a programme initiated by the wife of the Cross River State governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel-Imoke, to tackle pneumonia in children.
She said, pneumonia could be treated with antibiotics, but only about 30 per cent of children with the scourge receive the antibiotics they needed.
“Pneumonia is one of the silent killers of children under the age of five in Nigeria. It kills 177, 000 children annually in Nigeria. That is why POWER is committed to applying community related approaches to tackling it,” she said.
Ejemot-Nwadiaro said Breath of Life, in collaboration with the Partnership Opportunities for Women Empowerment Realisation, was committed to reducing the disease in the state, thereby reducing child mortality and helping the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Declaring the workshop open, Obioma Imoke said pneumonia kills more children in a year than malaria and HIV/AIDS put together.
Imoke said the workshop which was held in only Bekwarra Local Government Area in the state in 2011 had been extended to nine other LGAs in the state in order to reduce the scourge.
She noted that the exercise was already succeeding in the state because volunteers who have passion to eradicate the scourge had shown interest to be trained in order to propagate its elimination at the grassroots level.
Imoke said, “If we are to have a future, we must protect our children. The good news is that pneumonia is treatable and preventable. Do not take this training for granted because what you are going to do will go a long way to save the lives of children in Cross River. You are going out there to educate mothers on what to do to prevent it.”
She regretted that most of the deaths that resulted from the disease was due to lack of knowledge and hoped the workshop would go a long way to redress the situation.
A director of Primary Healthcare in the state Ministry of Health, Dr. John Odork, who is one of the trainers at the workshop, noted that the state would meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals going by the various programmes it had outlined.
The workshop was organized by POWER in collaboration with John Hopkins Bloomberg and International Vaccine Access Centre
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