Today is world Pneumonia Day as the world is urged to fight the disease and save lives. Pneumonia is said to be a killer disease deadlier than many other viral diseases, including HIV/AIDS. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) urges that a fight against the killer disease is a fight to save lives.
Did you know that according to UNICEF “Pneumonia accounts for 15%of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing 920,136 children in2015.”? Shocking, right… wait for this, Pneumonia is also the number 1 killer among the leading infectious diseases. It takes more young lives than malaria, diarrhoea and HIV/AIDS combined. Yes, you just read right.
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Did you also know that annually, about 6 million new cases of pneumonia occurs in under-5 children in Nigeria? Despite the fact that pneumonia can be easily treated and is preventable, an alarming number of children are still dying from this deadly disease. Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection caused by a virus, fungi or bacteria that infects your lungs. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common bacteria associated with pneumonia in children. If infected, children could experience symptoms such as cough, difficulty breathing, fast breathing, chest in-drawing and/or wheezing.
Mortality in childhood pneumonia is linked to poverty-related factors such as under-nutrition, lack of safe water, sanitation and inadequate access to health care. 6 out of 10 childhood pneumonia deaths are concentrated in 10 countries: Chad, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Angola, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Indonesia.
As we mark World Pneumonia day globally today, let us fight Pneumonia and save a child. To reduce preventable child deaths in Nigeria we must tackle the scourge of pneumonia because every breathe counts.
The good news is that we can prevent, protect and treat children from pneumonia with;·
- Routine immunizations against Hib, pneumococcus, measles and whooping cough.
- Safe drinking water, good sanitation and frequent hand washing with soap.
- Good nutrition especially for kids over 6 months of age.
- Covering your mouth with a tissue while sneezing or coughing, throwing it away immediately and washing hands.
- Not sharing cups or kitchen utensils with others.
- Keeping the air clean at home.
- Adequate nutrition with exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of age and eating vitamin-rich foods over six months.
- Together we can fight the scourge but education is critical to the fight. Get informed. We can stop pneumonia now.
- If you want to learn more about this disease and other ways to help prevent it, visit Stop Pneumonia.
- Join the conversation and keep up with updates on Instagram and Twitter using the hash tag #Stoppneumonianow.