By Jonathan Ugbal
The battle against Pneumonia can be won if preventive and treatment measures are taught to the younger generation in time and the people educated says Cross River Information Commissioner, Rosemary Archibong.
“I worked in the hospital for many years and I saw the plight of people, which is primarily ignorance” Archibong said Saturday, at an event to mark the 2016 World Pneumonia day organized by a Non Governmental Organization she founded; Society For Health Enlightenment Initiative (SO-HEALTHI) at the Calabar Municipal legislative center in Calabar.
She said her bid to school people led her to start an NGO to; “Advocate for people to take proper care of themselves and go to the hospital when they are sick”, adding that, “From there we moved to several other things to enhance life quality and ensure longevity.
“When in 2009, the world decided to take cognisance of Pneumonia by setting aside November 12 as World Pneumonia Day, I submitted a proposal because I saw that most of our children had been dying because of Pneumonia without knowing.
“I submitted a proposal to the John Hopkins public school of medicine in America and I was surprised and amazed that I was selected to be a pneumonia fighter and since then I have been doing this.
“People call me, even at odd hours to say that they suspect their children have pneumonia and we help them or how their children understand the basics in preventing pneumonia and know about it and I get so much joy knowing that what we are doing is actually impacting and it is making sense” Archibong said.
The event which featured an Essay competition on Pneumonia saw over 100 students from over 10 institutions compete for mouth watering prices after the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu lectured them on issues concerning Pneumonia.
“Pneumonia killed over 510,000 children in 2015 hence, the need to raise awareness on preventive and treatment measures to stop the illness are very necessary” she said.
Betta taught them on preventive measures to include washing their hands regularly and ensuring their medical attendants do so, taking all prescribed flu vaccines, living in properly ventilated environment and avoiding practices that pollute the air, not smoking and avoiding areas where people smoke a lot.
Continuing, she said that; “The Cross River State government is willing to partner with Non Governmental and Civil Society groups to create awareness and combat the illness because every breath counts especially that of our children who are tomorrow’s leaders”.
The world Pneumonia day, marked every year on November 12 was established in 2009 to raise awareness about the toll of the illness which according to the World Health Organisation is a leading killer of children across the globe and to advocate for global action to protect against, help prevent, and effectively treat this deadly illness.