A child with pneumonia being attended to

By Martins Ifijeh

As part of efforts to curb the growing rate of deaths of children under five years old due to pneumonia and diarrhea, the Lagos State Government, in partnership with Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH), has made fresh commitment to end the scourge.

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary HealthCare Board, Dr. Ibironke Sodeinde, gave the assurance while receiving delegates from the PSN/PACFaH in her office in Yaba, Lagos.

She said the State was committed to reducing the prevalence level of the diseases to their barest minimum.

In his presentation, the PSN-PACFaH Programme Director (Strategy), Remi Adeseun, informed the Permanent Secretary that the coalition intends to support the state government towards achieving its child intervention policies in areas such as; family planning, nutrition, routine immunization and ending childhood killer diseases-pneumonia and diarrhoea.

He called for creation of budget lines and increased funding in addressing these critical health issues. He commended the present administration for the health allocation in the 2016 Lagos State budget, which is about 10 per cent of the state’s total budget and for being the first state in Nigeria to create a specific budget line for family planning.

He also appreciated the State for strengthening health systems through institutionalization of the PHC under one roof and for enacting the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme in 2015.

The group requested for adoption of Amoxicillin Dispersible Tablet (Amoxicillin DT) as the first line drug in the management of childhood pneumonia and the use of zinc and low Osmolarity Oral Rehydration Salt (Zinc/LO-ORS) as the first line drug in the management of childhood diarrhea.

“The State Government should create a specific budget lines for the procurement of these essential drugs-Amoxicillin DT and Zinc/LO-ORS. This will ensure that the commodities are regularly available at all health facilities in the state.

“This is in line with best Practices in the world; a policy the Nigeria Government committed to in 2012 under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, which is yet to be implemented. The Conventional/Standard High Osmolarity ORS should be discouraged and removed from circulation due to its severe adverse effects on the health of the citizens especially children under 5 years. He also advocated for timely release of funds for the procurement of the essential medicines”, he said

In her response, the Permanent Secretary assured the advocacy team that their request will be fully addressed by the appropriate authorities.

According to her, “the Primary Healthcare Board has specific budget lines for the procurement of Amoxicillin DT and Zinc/LO-ORS in the state’s 2016 budget”. She also assured the visiting team of the state’s readiness to adopt and implement the use of Amoxicillin DT and Zinc/LO-ORS as the First Line Drugs for the Management of Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhoea.