Martins Ifijeh

The Partnership for Advocacy In Child and Family Health, PACFAH, has stated that about 400 Nigerian children die every year in the country due to pneumonia and diarrhea diseases.

Stating this during an advocacy visit to Emzor Pharmaceutical Limited in Lagos, the Lagos State Chairman of the coalition, Mr. Henry Adenigba, said he was saddened by the high rate of children dying from the preventable diseases, adding that out of 100 death recorded among children, 19 lives are lost due to pneumonia or diarrhea.

He said government has not given deserved attention to the two preventable diseases, which he notes kill more than HIV/AIDS, and others, which government was giving higher priority.

“Research has shown that among child deaths in the country, pneumonia takes 14 per cent, while diarrhea takes nine per cent, making them the second and the third single killers of children under five years in Nigeria. HIV kills three per cent.”

He also noted that the present health budget for Lagos State was grossly inadequate to take care of the myriads of health challenges, adding that the State House of Assembly ought to reject the budget.

“Lagos State has 10 per cent pneumonia and nine per cent diarrhea mortality rate among under five years; Lagos State is the third pneumonia and diarrhoea disease-burdened South-Western State In the country. For every 100 Child deaths in Lagos State, pneumonia and diarrhoea jointly account for 19 per cent of those deaths.

“Lagos State health sector allocation was reduced from N65 billion (9.8 per cent) in 2016 to N51 billion (six per cent) in 2017; despite increase in the total state budget from N663 billion (2016) to N813 billion (2017). From 2011 till date, the Lagos State House of Assembly has never increased the proposed health sector budget. It’s either they pass the budget as proposed by the governor or they reduce it,” he said.

To reduce the mortality rate of children, PACFAH advocated for collaboration with Emzor for circulation of good quality and affordable health products, most especially Amoxicillin DT and Zinc-LO-ORS to battle pneumonia and diarrhoea.

On her part, the Chief Executive Officer, Emzor Pharmaceutical Limited, Stella Chinyelu Okoli, who was represented by Mrs. Uzoma Ezeoke, assured PACFAH of its coalition, adding that it would support with enough quality health products.

Although, she lamented that the inflation of dollar to naira exchange rate has affected their importation of health materials, Okoli, nevertheless said that it has in no way affected the quality of its products negatively.