By Sola Ogundipe

THE second World Pneumonia Day activities in Lagos, Abuja and most other major cities in Nigeria on Friday November 12, 2010, was essentially to buttress the message about the need for protection,  treatment and prevention of infants and young children from infection with the pneumococcal bacteria which causes pneumonia and other pneumococcal disorders.

One of the highlights of the Day, was the recognition of the availability a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine which is about to be introduced into the nation’s routine immunisation schedule

*Children at the World Pneumonia day activity organised by the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) in Lagos.

The Nigerian government is already at advanced stage including the  HiB and pneumococcal vaccines into the national immunisation programme with support from the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (GAVI).

The need for universal  access to effective and affordable management and treatment approaches for the most types of serious pneumonia was canvassed, amid development of more realistic strategies that can help to ensure that children receive the right treatment for pneumonia quickly.

According to the World Health Organisation, in Nigeria, only an estimated 1 of every 5 children with pneumonia currently receives appropriate antibiotics. Government was called upon to formulate health policies and services specifically designed to provide children prompt and effective treatment for pneumonia.

Based on existing information, increases in coverage  is achievable while prevention interventions, with support from the GAVI alliance, introductions of hib and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines would become fully  routine  over the next five years nationwide.

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