By Sola Ogundipe
Despite the dismal picture of the state of pneumococcal disorders among children in Nigeria, the Inspiring Project, an initiative of Save the Children, is committed to reducing deaths from pneumonia and other preventable infectious diseases in the country.
Disclosing this during a Media Working Group Training organized by Save the Children International, Nigeria, a Child Health and Immunisation Specialist with Save the Children, Dr Ibrahim Seriki, observed that statistics showed that more than 40 percent of Under-1 children in Nigeria are unvaccinated against pneumococcal disorders.
Seriki said: “The Project which is being implemented in Ikorodu Local Government Area in Lagos State and Kiyawa LGA in Jigawa State, is designed to strengthen health service delivery in immunisation , supply chain and health management information system.
“Amongst others, the project focuses on capacity building of health workers in case management of common childhood illnesses, social and behaviour change communication, as well as the advocacy, awareness creation, establishment of working groups.”
Already, projections have shown that no less than 1.4 million children that are aged Under-5 could die from pneumonia over the next decade in Nigeria if urgent steps are not taken to check the high burden of the disease through immunisation.
“Despite policy, guidelines, and protocols established for coordination of pneumonia control by the Federal Ministry of Health, significant gaps still exist in the management of the disorders.
“By accounting for 5 percent of global pneumococcal infections, Nigeria has the third-largest burden after China and India.
“In 2018, Nigeria recorded the highest number of pneumonia deaths globally with 162,000 deaths – 443 deaths per day, or 18 every hour even as pneumonia accounts for 18 percent of child deaths in 2018.”