By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
The Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Amina Baloni – Mohammed has said that the state would partner the Paediatric Association of Nigeria, PAN, the UNICEF and other stakeholders to combat pneumonia among children in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
Dr. Baloni spoke at a press conference to mark the 2020 World Pneumonia Day in Kaduna.
She said the World Pneumonia Day was special because it was the first time it would take place during the global pandemic, COVID-19.
“As of 6th November 2020, 47 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide with about 1.23million death,,” she said.
“The corresponding figures in Nigeria are 63,508 and 1,155 and in Kaduna State 2,670 and 44 respectively.”
The el-Rufai administration ,she said, was desirous to ensure that health care remain a right to all citizens in the state, the commissioner insisted that the government would work closely with the Coalition Against Child Pneumonia as represented by the Paediatric Association of Nigeria(PAN), the UNICEF and other partners and stakeholders in the state.
This was to combat the risk factors for pneumonia, such as promotion of exclusive breast feeding in six months of life of baby and improving vaccine demand and utilization,she said.
The commissioner explained that the measure became necessary because the state has the second highest burden of the childhood pneumonia in the Northwest zone.
“The situation in Kaduna state reflects this grim picture of preventable deaths, with pneumonia accounting for 13% of death of children before they reach their fifth. Kaduna state has the second highest burden of childhood pneumonia among the seven North-Western states,” the commissioner said.
She said that the celebration of the World Pneumonia Day helps to bring the information to the front burner and promote actions that could lead to bring the ugly situation under control.
“The World Pneumonia Day 2020 is special because it is the first time it will take place during a global pandemic, COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is principally a respiratory tract infection and most people with the severe disease have COVID-19 pneumonia. It is estimated that will add about 1.9million deaths to the already over 2 million people dying from pneumonia each year.
“Apart from killing so many adults in Nigeria, COVID-19 also disrupted maternal and newborn services such as immunization and caused poverty at both government and household levels”
“The Government of Kaduna State recognizes the need to work with the Global Coalition Against Child Pneumonia as represented by the Paediatric Association of Nigeria, UNICEF and other partners and stakeholders.
“We remain very optimistic that when all hands are placed on deck to support the government and associations like Paediatric Association of Nigeria(PAN) and UNICEF in the implementation of these preventive measures, these unfavourable childhood morbidity and morality from preventable pneumonia will reduced in Kaduna state and the country.”
The President – elect, Paediatric Association of Nigeria, Prof. Olufemi Ogunrinde said the federal government’s huge investment in control of COVID-19 should be sustained and extended to improved child health outcomes especially childhood pneumonia.
Ogunrinde commended Federal and Kaduna State Governments for the tremendous efforts put in place to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.