By Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Kaduna State Health Commissioner Dr. Amina Baloni-Mohammed has said the state will partner with the Nigerian Pediatric Association, PAN, UNICEF and other stakeholders to combat pneumonia among children in the 23 local government areas of the state.
Dr. Baloni spoke at a press conference to mark World Pneumonia Day 2020 in Kaduna.
He said World Pneumonia Day was special because it was the first time it would take place during the global pandemic, COVID-19.
“As of November 6, 2020, 47 million COVID-19 cases had been reported worldwide with approximately 1.23 million deaths,” he said.
“The corresponding figures in Nigeria are 63,508 and 1,155 and in Kaduna state 2,670 and 44 respectively.”
The el-Rufai administration, he said, wanted to ensure that health care remains a right for all citizens in the state, the commissioner insisted that the government would work closely with the Coalition Against Childhood Pneumonia represented by the Pediatric Association. Nigeria (PAN), UNICEF and other partners and state stakeholders.
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This was to combat pneumonia risk factors, such as promoting exclusive breastfeeding throughout the baby’s six months of life and improving vaccine demand and use, he said.
The commissioner explained that the measure was necessary because the state has the second highest burden of childhood pneumonia in the northwest area.
“The situation in Kaduna state reflects this grim picture of preventable deaths, where pneumonia accounts for 13% of child deaths before reaching the fifth. Kaduna state has the second highest burden of childhood pneumonia among the seven northwestern states, ”the commissioner said.
He said that the celebration of World Pneumonia Day helps to bring information to the fore and promote actions that could lead to control of the ugly situation.
“World Pneumonia Day 2020 is special because it is the first time it will take place during a global pandemic, COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory tract infection and most people with severe illness have COVID-19 pneumonia. It is estimated that it will add about 1.9 million deaths to the more than 2 million people who die from pneumonia each year.
“In addition to killing so many adults in Nigeria, COVID-19 also disrupted maternal and newborn services, such as immunization, and led to poverty in both government and households.”
“The Kaduna state government recognizes the need to work with the Global Coalition Against Childhood Pneumonia represented by the Nigerian Pediatric Association, UNICEF and other partners and stakeholders.
“We remain very optimistic that when all hands are on deck to support the government and associations such as the Nigerian Pediatric Association (PAN) and UNICEF in implementing these preventive measures, this unfavorable childhood morbidity and morality from pneumonia preventable will be reduced in Kaduna state and the country. “
The president-elect of the Nigerian Pediatric Association, Professor Olufemi Ogunrinde, said that the huge investment by the federal government in controlling COVID-19 must be maintained and expanded to improve child health outcomes, especially childhood pneumonia.
Ogunrinde praised the federal and state governments of Kaduna for the tremendous efforts made to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.