Save the Children International (SCI) has revealed that as at December 2016, not less than 334,400 children of under one-year-old were not immunised with the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV).
It said pneumonia killed at least 33,120 children of under five in 2016, while 90 children lost their lives daily in the state due to the preventable disease.
Stating this during the Global Pneumonia Report Launch in Lagos recently, the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Adviser, SCI, Dr. Opeyemi Odedere said while three per 1000 live births is the target pneumonia death rate for under fives by 2025, as envisaged under the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), that of Lagos remains at nine 1000 live births going by its 2016 report.
“As at December 2016, Lagos State PVC vaccine coverage among one year olds stands at 32 per cent.”
According to him, though Lagos’ under five mortality rate is still at 50 per 1000 live births, the target for SDG by 2030 is put at 25 per 1000 live births, thereby urging the state to work towards the set mark.
“As per the 2025 targets set in the 2012 World Health Assembly Resolution, the vital steps towards ending malnutrition by 2030 are: 40 per cent reduction in stunting in children under five. To remain on track to achieve SDG 2 in 2030, Lagos State needs to reduce stunting rates to seven per cent by 2025.
He said for the state to be able to tackle health challenges among Lagosians, there should be increase in the health budgeting, adding that, “the minimum recommended government spending per person in a year to provide essential health services by the WHO is put at $86. But that of Lagos is $8 as approved in its 2016 budget.
“15 per cent is the minimum WHO recommended government spend on health as per cent of GDP as per WHO recommendations, but that of Lagos is 9.6 per cent in 2016. Only 0.2 per cent of Lagos GDP was spent on health in 2016,” he added.
The medical expert therefore called on the state to put pneumonia on its map since it’s the number one killer of children, adding that the state should prevent pneumonia deaths through universal vaccination.
“Among other things, there should be an establishment of an international partnership, an unrelenting focus on equity and the most disadvantaged children, as well as the strengthening of the state’s Health Strategic Plan, and setting up of guidelines for pneumonia prevention,” he said.
On her part, Lagos State Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Coordinator, Dr. Monsurat Adeleke, said in 2016 pneumonia killed 132,556 children; more than 15 children every hour, adding that 12.2 million children under two are un-immunised in Nigeria, going by a 2015 statistics.
“Pneumonia has been falling through the cracks and has never been isolated for targeted interventions. Rather it has been embedded into the IMCI approach and not as a stand alone. Training of health workers on management of Pneumonia is part of key to reducing the scourge,” she added.