177,000 Nigerian Children Die of Pneumonia-related Diseases Annually


Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

About 177,000 Nigerian children under five years die annually from pneumonia-related diseases.

This was disclosed at a stakeholders’ meeting by the Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Agency (BSPHA), Adamu Ibrahim Gamawa.

The meeting which held at the Emergency Response Center (ERC) in Bauchi, came ahead of the kick off of the Pneumonococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PVC) in 16 states later this month.

He said the vaccine is aimed at tackling diseases caused by a Bacteria called ‘Streptococcus Pneumoniaea’.

He said the diseases caused by the organism include; pneumonia, meningitis, bacteraemia, Middle ear infection (Otitis Media), sinusitis and bronchitis in children.

According to him, reports have shown that Nigeria is among 10 countries in the world whose children under five are at a great risk of dying from pneumonococcal diseases.
Gamawa noted that the reports have shown that fatality rates for pneumonia is about 20 per cent and about 50 per cent for meningitis.

He further noted that in Bauchi State, which is among the 16 states in phase three of the PVC vaccine immunisation, it would be administered to children at 356 health facilities across the state.

Other states that would be covered in the PVC Vaccination phase three include; Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Gombe, Kano Kwara, Lagos and Delta States.
Others include Enugu, Zamfara, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The BSPHA chairman said the vaccine will be routinely administered to the children at six, 10 and 14 weeks.

He also advised parents to observe some preventive measures which he said would help in curbing the disease among children.
Some of the measure, according to him, include general hygiene, exclusive breast feeding for the first six months, reducing indoor air pollution, proper treatment of early symptoms and giving children zinc supplements.